When I first starting teaching in an IBPYP school I was both excited and a little wary of my ability to 'perform' to the expectations. It wasn't long before I realised that everyone else was also on a journey and that actually my thinking and teaching pedagogies were 'inquiry based' already. That was just the beginning of an exciting adventure that changes and develops more each day.
Lets fast forward 8 years . . .
I am a a teacher who works with students, I don't have 'the answers', I don't want 'the answers'.
The longer I teach the more I understand that the journey I am on is one that will never have 'an answer' but will be filled with questions, wonderings and possibilities and that energises my thinking.
If I think about the impact of having time to connect our thinking and learn and understand over time, one short story about a student in my class has made me think about how we make connections to take learning further.
I have a girl in my class who was new to learning English, she was quiet and quiet understandably has been reluctant to engage on a whole class level unless she was 100% sure she was 100% correct. This is completely normal and as to be expected. We always say students show us in their own way when they are ready for the next step. So, a few weeks back she started asking questions, then she started initiating discussions with peers, all that was great and made me smile to see her development.
Then last week when we were planning the final assembly for the semester with the students, they were brainstorming ideas to be more interactive with the school as well as how to give an 'overview' of our learning. Needless to say we were going around and around, when out of nowhere our newly confident Ms X says ' I think we should explain the big ideas while some students build a model on the stage so that everyone can understand what is going on'.
The excitement that that one statement generated was tangible in the room, the other 36 students ran with it and came up with a great presentation, when Ms X says ' what about making connections?'
We asked 'Can you explain more?'
She said 'when I was in Grade 2 we learnt about what is good for eating for your body and in Grade 3 we learnt about food security and they connect.'
We said 'Did you understand about nutrition in Grade 2 - you were new to learning English?'
She said, 'No I didn't really understand what was going on but I could see what was happening'
I said 'So how could we connect that to assembly.'
Her response was simple ' I could say . . .
"Can you make any connections between our learning and yours?
We wonder what learning connections we will make next semester….. "
Students when given time and space they need to learn make the connections. I wonder what connections we will make next semester as well.
Teaching in an IBPYP school; interests: student agency, technology integration, growth mindset & the continuous cycle of improvement that is the world of education, learning and being!