My first day back to work was different. I wasn’t bombarded with test scores and data. I wasn’t overwhelmed with new curriculum and standards. Not what I expected and a huge relief.
We were given a message. Failure is okay. Failure is a means for learning, a pathway to higher level learning, problem solving, and teamwork.
Thank goodness for that because the projects my students do in class are messy. The kids learn through trial and error, problem solving, researching, and collaborating with each other and me. Getting the right answer is not the focus (we sure do like getting the right answers though). Memorizing facts is not the goal (although there are times when I highly recommend memorizing information). We go through a process of building knowledge and understanding. I want my students to value their efforts in trying something without knowing if they are going to be right. I want them to find the motivation to keep trying until they are successful. I want them to be able to ask themselves what they learned from all of their efforts. I also want them to be observant and collaborative so they can learn from and with others.
Sometimes this is trying on the kids and even myself. It’s often a struggle to figure out why something isn’t working out the way it is supposed to. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time and a project has to be presented “as is.” Which happens in real life, doesn’t it? We also find that it takes a lot of effort to get along with everyone and to share learning. The room is usually really noisy too because working together normally requires conversation.
Here goes another school year. Some ideas will work and some will not. As the students learn, so will I. I wonder what adventures this school year will bring.