“…perhaps the biggest challenges for some teachers will be redefining the role of the learner as contributor, and building a collaborative learning culture.”
I believe this holds true not just for the classroom but for the professional community as well. It’s easy for teachers to want to pick up a manual and have everything spelled out for them. But if they see themselves as part of a learning community in which they can help shape curriculum, their teaching experiences will be so much more effective and student centered. Teachers must view themselves as part of a larger community where they can learn from others and collaborate to find new avenues for their teaching. I believe that once this happens, it will be easier for them to view their students as contributors and collaborators as well.
In sharing the ideas of another educator, Darren Kuropatwa, there is a discussion about the reluctance of some teachers to share their ideas, especially globally. November quotes Darren as saying, “As long as you’re willing to put yourself out there and share, you get back many fold.”
When I first started to contribute to a blog, I felt (and sometimes still do feel) the same way. I wondered if what I had to say would be of interest to anyone, and if they did read, what would they think? My ideas were already out there in print, but there was just something about the thought of being able to reach so many teachers digitally that was a bit scary. It was definitely a push to put myself out there, but I agree whole-heartedly that I have gotten back much in return. One of the questions at the end of Chapter 3 asks if students will work harder on material they are preparing for a wider audience than just their teacher. I believe they will. We all know how important audience is to writing, and having an audience of peers often pushes us to do our best work more than anything else.
“Darren advises newcomers to the student scribe program to look at the work of others who are early in the process of adopting this model.
This speaks to the importance of having good mentors and models for the work we do ourselves, as well as the work we expect of our students. In writing, we always try to provide just the right amount and kind of modeling for students. When we work together with them in a shared experience they come to understand that what we are showing them is doable, and they grow in confidence as they begin to apply what has been taught to their own work.
And one final quote from Darren that speaks to the importance of being a life-long learner:
“As long as you’re asking what’s next, you’ll get there. But never be content with where you’re at.”
I’m looking forward to continuing the journey.