Thursday, April 1, 2021

Meaningful Presence

Let me ask a question.  What's one thing you learned today?  Often times, I move so fast through my day that I learn very little.   Maybe you're a bit like me.

Unfortunately, class can be like that too.  

I often find that in a rush to teach I sometimes leave little time for my students to learn.  It's sort of like I feel as though my students' learning is dependent on me filling them with all that I know. Stuffing them full of legal jargon, techniques, and principles.  In short, mush.  

But that's not learning.  Learning takes time, practice, trial, thoughtfulness, experience, creativity, struggle, rest, pursuit, and failure, just to list a few of the sensations and practices that we go through as we are learning.  

In order to help me gauge what my students are learning in our class meetings, I try to end each online zoom class with a one-minute reflective chat.  All participate because I use this chat as a chance to take attendance.  I ask my students to post one thing that they have learned in class today.  Just one thing.  

Most of the time the comments are related to what we covered in class, but not always.  But all of them are valuable, not just for me, but for the rest of the class too, because the responses are visible to all. 

It's one way - in this world of online teaching - for me to learn from my students.  Because, truth be told, learning is a two-way street, filled with bustling activity as we learn together with, through, and from each other.

So next time you end class, ask your students what they have learned today.  

That's not just a great way to end class; it's also a great way to honor and respect your students as learners.  (Scott Johns).

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