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Empowering Through Education by Judianne Jayme

A fresh perspective: critical collaboration

By Judianne Jayme

     Fellow Pilipino Express columnist Valen Vergara volunteers in the classroom by reading to students.
Fellow Pilipino Express columnist Valen Vergara volunteers in the classroom by reading to students.

Editor’s note: In this issue of the Pilipino Express, we are delighted to introduce to you our newest columnist, Judianne Jayme. She will write about the numerous issues that educators, parents and students face in our school system and help us develop a better understanding of that system. She is the daughter of long time Winnipeggers, Hector and Helen Jayme.

Judianne Jayme has been very active in the community. For many years, she served as secretary at the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba. At a young age, she was involved with Highlights Performing Arts under the direction of Joy Lazo. For the past 15 years, she has been dedicated to the Pearl of the Orient Pavilion as both a performer and a part of the Production Team behind the scenes for Magdaragat Philippines, Inc. She has also taken her talent with Magdaragat to represent the Philippines and Canada at international dance festivals in Mexico, Peru, and Costa Rica.

She is now a third year educator teaching sixth grade in the Winnipeg School Division and continues to pursue her passions for performing arts, human rights, and travel. – Ed.

Teachers have a job often scrutinized by the public, rightfully so, since we are in charge of educating an entire generation. As a third year educator, I strive to build and improve on the acquire-activate-apply models of my predecessors. Last year, despite not requiring formal observations and evaluations, I readily volunteered to help other teachers and administrators who needed extra practice in evaluating colleagues. Having a fresh pair of eyes is incredibly helpful when you reflect on your practice. These eyes will see things that are second nature to you; things you take for granted.

This year, I welcomed a student teacher. She is keen to observe every detail in our classroom community and routines. I share my resources and she builds on feedback I give her each lesson. This working relationship is one in which colleagues thrive because of their support and constructive feedback for each other.

Prior to writing this column, I had a fellow columnist for the Pilipino Express observe me in my classroom. He spent time with my students and saw some of the practices and routines I had in place. I asked him for feedback on my classroom, students, and practices.

One classroom practice I take for granted is what I call the “walk and talk.” Whenever I ask students a question, I ask them to first reflect on their answer in their heads. They give me a thumbs-up to indicate that their idea is ready. They are then randomly paired off and they stand in a circle. They walk around slowly, sharing ideas until they return to their original spots. They come back together as a class and discuss something they or their partner shared. This collaboration is so critical to the formation of new ideas and concepts. It also allows us to address misconceptions. They receive instant feedback from their peers, which, in many ways, can be more effective than feedback from an adult.

For success to happen for our youth in and out of the classroom, I welcome you to allow them to collaborate. My classroom is often noisy but, on closer inspection, they are on-task. That noise, that chatter, is engaged conversation. My students collaborate. They are learners.

Parent tip: ask questions!

Do not take for granted how powerful asking the right questions are. Have discussions. Ask questions that prompt your child to think. If they ask you a question, don’t just always answer it for them. Allow them to make critical connections. Even a nursery student who replies, “I don’t know,” to a question will form a response when you respond with, “But if you did know, what would you say?” You’ll be amazed at how much more of a critical thinker your child will become through this process.

Judianne Jayme is a third year educator teaching sixth grade in the Winnipeg School Division.