Every kid is a genius

Over the last few days I just keep thinking that every kid in school is a genius and how our school system just somehow tries to prevent so many of them from showing or developing their talents. “Academic” kids have an easy time at school, they know how to sit still, listen to teachers, do homework, study at home … I was one of them. I had no problems with sitting on an uncomfortable chair for two or three hours listening to a teacher telling me what I needed to learn and know. I didn’t mind losing lots of precious learning time either listening to the same teachers telling off some of my classmates who did have problems sitting on uncomfortable chairs for the same two or three hours hearing but not listening to the same teachers talking about what they needed to learn and know. I find it a lot more difficult now to sit and listen to someone talking to me if I feel they are wasting my time.

Teachers love talking in class but do kids love listening?

I no longer tell off whole classes for not listening to me. In every class there is always going to be someone who is just not ready to listen to me. What do I have to do in class to ensure that all my students listen to what is necessary? Why should those who are listening have to waste precious time that they could be spending doing something else? Do I speak too much in class? Do I repeat the same things over and over? Do I provide different channels of information?

Every kid is a genius – we have to listen to them, acknowledge them and keep in mind two magic words YOU MATTER.

I suppose I came to realise this after watching Angela Maiers fantastic TED Talk

We have to give all our kids at school the opportunity to be what they have the potential to be. Kids come to school because they have to, as teachers we have to ensure that they find a safe place in which to learn and to share their talents. They all have talents. We have to recognise and nurture them.

In our own way, at school we are developing learning spaces inside and outside the class that allow kids to develop their talents and to learn that you learn better together. We have our own type of genius hour project.

 

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A new school year

IMG_1640It’s been a while since my last post but this evening I decided to take some time just to think about how the new school year is going. I suppose all teachers will agree that starting again after the summer holidays is hectic. We have new classes, new students and lots of new ideas and proposals. We begin full of energy and things go well. Then, we find that some of our students don’t have the same proposals or energies.

I suppose most teachers would agree that they think they know better than their students about what’s best for them, just as they learnt from their own teachers.

Behaviour problems start popping up and the students are to blame. Or are they? In fact, is anyone to blame?

Carme Lupon, one of the founders of my school, now retired, taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learnt. To be a teacher, you have to love children.

During a school day it’s easy to forget this because you’ve got to cope with so many things. You end up thinking more about whether you will be able to correct the latest papers on time or prepare a meeting with parents instead of remembering to ask John how his mother feels today or Sarah about her sick cat. These may seem simple examples but all of our students arrive at school with their own issues and it’s so easy to see our own issues as more important.

Most teachers would probably agree with me that our aim as teachers is to ensure that the student is at the centre of the learning space we try to create in class but we can’t forget that we may not have had all our students in mind when we decide how to teach a class.

Classes may go well or badly, but don’t forget that the most important thing is to love all our kids, and that, in my humble opinion, means putting them before ourselves.

A New Year

A new year begins and brings with it new hopes and resolutions. I want to share two videos I have found over the last few weeks that have got me thinking a lot. The first one is a TED talk from 2013 that I have watched quite a few times. We hear a lot about the need to empower our students but this video shows that lots of young people are empowering themselves.

And my friend Fiona Attwood shared this video on her Facebook yesterday morning – a great reflection for the new year. American rapper Prince Ea talks about the importance of fulfilling our dreams and the potential for greatness within us all.

 

Asking the right questions

A colleague of mine shared this photograph with me today. Thanks Dolors! Asking the right questions is at the core of what  teachers do every day and showing our students how to make their own questions is even more important.

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Here are some links to posts from other blogs about the role of questions in the classroom.

The right way to ask questions in the classroom

Are you asking the right questions?

How can we teach kids to question?

Teaching students to ask their own questions