Learning and personal development
by Judianne Jayme
Network, and develop yourself professionally and personally. You never know who you’ll meet, how much you can learn, and how much you can share. I had a student recently ask me why I attend so many workshops – I’m convinced kids notice everything.
Each time I attend a workshop, I find ways to apply it to both my teaching practices and to my personal life. I also have come into the habit of sharing with my students what the workshops are about. They also know that I share with you, my audience, my “takeaways” from each workshop, and from my classroom experiences. This tiny step of being transparent with my sixth graders is done so intentionally, with the hope of demonstrating to them the importance of networking, of meeting encouraging people, and of sharing my learning.
In my last article, I discussed the importance of modeling traits that are important. This is learning in practice – if I want students to value learning, and value networking by sharing their learning with others, I have to show them how important that is to me.
I’m in my year of evaluations, and some feedback I received is my class’s engagement levels – they can go from being quiet and intently listening to my lesson, to chatting with each other in a focused way to explain to their partner what strategies they are using to solve the problem, or answer the questions I’m asking. This “turn-and-talk” or “walk-and-talk” strategy is part of our classroom routine, and one that I model with them constantly. Even as I let them go at the end of the day, or when they see me in the hallways as they’re entering the building, they see me doing a “walk-and-talk” with a colleague, sharing about our practices and celebrating successes.
Parent tip: Sharing learning
Children are learning from what they see us do, not what they hear us talk about. We are role models for children, whether we want to be or not.
If you want your child to share about their learning, share about yours! This doesn’t necessarily mean listing what you did all day. Instead, share about the lessons of the day. It could sound something like, “Today, I had a challenging day because I made a mistake. This is what I did about it.” These types of conversations matter. Children need to know that challenges exist at all levels in life, and that there are healthy ways to deal with them. If your child is older, take a minute to ask them what they would’ve done if they had a similar situation. If there’s anything that children are naturally passionate about, it’s fairness. Share your experiences often, and hopefully this translates to your own children’s willingness to share theirs.
Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade and a division-wide mentor in the Winnipeg School Division.