Follow Their Thinking

I have been thinking about the relational and affective aspects of inquiry learning. How important is it to be present and enthusiastic, and work really hard to find out what a learner’s thoughts and feelings are? What is my role in the process? What is the role of expertise when it all hinges on engagement and facilitation? Maybe my role is not to translate the knowledge for students, but to facilitate their connection with the subject matter. I can select the way in which to present the subject to the learners, and take an active role in exciting their interest, in keeping them engaged, and in challenging their ideas. Perhaps I should follow their thinking instead of leading it. Maybe teaching is where I do the listening and the learners do the explaining.

About cpaterso

I love teaching, but recognise that schools often do not support what we know about learning. I believe that confusion is good, grades are overemphasised, and exams are anachronistic. Currently working in a learning and teaching leadership role in a Sydney school.
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5 Responses to Follow Their Thinking

  1. whatedsaid says:

    I agree, Cameron. I think great learning happens when the teacher really listens to the learners and the learning.
    It means we excite learners to want to learn more… then step back and let them learn… but listen carefully so that we know when to step in with a guiding question, when to provide support or scaffold skills required to go further, when to provide another provocation to take thinking in a new direction, when to offer ‘feedforward’, rather than ‘feedback’. It means knowing your curriculum (but not letting it imprison you), knowing your students and knowing you don’t know everything…

    ‘Perhaps I should follow their thinking instead of leading it.’… Perhaps all teachers should laminate this and hang on it on the wall!

  2. Abi says:

    Absolutely. I’ve been making a purposeful shift to listening and asking questions, clarifying their responses and putting active listening into place. It gives amazing insights into the way they think. Also encouraging groups not to stop talking when the teacher gets to their group but to just keep doing what they are doing. They love it. I love it. It gives them a chance to ask questions if they need it but also stops the interruption of the their creative design process. Gives teacher a chance to take notes, record their interaction and note progress. We have two ears and one mouth, I do better when I use them in proportion ;)

  3. tasha cowdy says:

    Great, thought provoking post! I love the idea of the role of teacher being to “… facilitate their connection with the subject matter.”; following student thinking, and Edna’s idea of “feedforward” as an alternative to “feedback”. Love it!

  4. Pingback: Daily Leadership Thought #82 – You Are Paid To Think « Ed Robinson's Blog

  5. Kelli says:

    Quite a bit has stuck with me from the post & comments.Thanks for your insights It makes me wonder what are the signs of readiness so as to the move in with a guiding question, provocation and to challenge ideas? What will the learner say, do before we move in to facilitate?

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