- In this week’s reading, the author starts the chapter by listing her top ten education related wishes for children (wonder, desire, passion, risk taking, confidence, complexity, engagement, practicality, ownership, empathy). Which out of the top ten do you feel is the most important for producing positive learning outcomes? Why? How could you incorporate the author’s list into an appropriate activity for K-5 students?
I feel like all of these are needed to produce a positive learning outcome. They are all essential parts of the classroom, and without one, the environment doesn’t quite shine as bright as it could. Let’s start with wonder. If our students do not have questions, then there’s nothing to teach. How boring would it be to be in a classroom when there’s nothing to think about, nothing to explore. Desire. Students, and teachers, need to WANT to learn. They need to come to class everyday hoping to learn something new. Passion. A lot of this comes from us as educators. We have to be passionate about our topics if we want our students to share the same feelings. If a student doesn’t feel like the teacher is enjoying what they are teaching, they lose the passion as well. We also have to make sure we know our students’ passions so we can work those into our lessons. Risk taking. Educators have to take risks. They have to make changes to the structure of their classroom every year or they will lose their passion for teaching. We have to try new things with the hope we don’t fall flat on our face. The best thing about failing? Learning. and our students will have no idea if we’ve made a mistake. Confidence. We have to feel confident in our teaching if we want our students to be confident about their learning. Complexity. Students need a challenge. They need something that makes them think a little harder and learn a lot more. Engagement. We have to get our students involved. The classes and lessons they will remember the most are those where they were actively involved, not the lectures. Practicality. We have to be realistic. We can’t set insane goals for our students that will make them feel like failures if they’re not obtained. Our lessons need to be designed so that they can be done. Ownership. Part of being in school is developing life skills. Ownership in the class allows students to know what it means to be accountable. We have to take ownership too. We need to stick by what we say and what we do. Empathy. We were once students in school and some of us will still be students as we continue our education. We need to put ourselves in the students shoes before setting unrealistic expectations for our classroom. We need to teach our students this as well. They need to be able to empathize with their peers and their teachers.
This list can be incorporated into any project we assign our students. When I was in elementary school, we had to choose a habitat, and make a physical object to show its characteristics. I chose the Rain Forest, because it was something I wanted to know more about. After learning a few things through research, I became passionate about my topic. I new I had to present it to my teacher, and the most practical thing I could think of was a mini model inside a shoe box. I took ownership of my work, and empathized with students who felt the project was difficult. Because it was. It was all about having the desire to do something you really wanted to do.