I was blessed with the opportunity to work with a group in Yellowknife, NWT this past week and it is easily the furthest north I have ever been in the world. As a Canadian, I have experienced cold, but the participants were raving about the unseasonably warm weather in November as a beautiful and toasty -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) as compared to a typical -35 degrees Celsius.
Although it was cold, the participants were warm and incredible. I loved the day being surrounded by a group that is eager to ask questions and learn, and this group was exceptional. What I appreciated about the experience was that this was a group that by all accounts, are doing incredible things, but they are not resting upon that and still wanting to learn from others and each other.
One of the participants talked about her passion for students developing emotional intelligence and had an excellent idea for recreating a booth similar to “Speaker’s Corner” from City TV and MuchMusic fame (very Canadian) where you can just go up and share something on your mind to a video camera with the possibility of being shared on television. It is something that I fondly remember from my younger days, and I loved the idea and how she connected it to a project with social-emotional learning.
She then asked me, “How would you set it up?”
My response? “Why are you asking me? Ask your students.”
Sometimes, what we see as “the work” is sometimes “learning” we are taking away from our students.
Think of the process to set that up and how much incredible learning and resilience teachers show by going through many things for their students. But we sometimes take away incredible learning opportunities from our students through the process.
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes that, when applied, can change a lot for educators.
Not everything we do in our classroom should be created by students. It is about identifying opportunities when the process would benefit our students as much as the product and taking advantage to share those opportunities with the learners we serve. This is the type of learning that will go way beyond classrooms walls.
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