Back in the day before shaming kids was frowned upon – that is, during my first year or two as a teacher – I used to ask kids who weren’t paying attention to teach the lesson to the class. And the results weren’t pretty and certainly not educationally-beneficial.
As my conception of understanding material evolved, so too did my methods (thankfully). No longer was it a punishment to have to explain components of a lesson. Instead, it presented kids the chance to breakdown concepts in their own words. They then could relay them to their peers who could access the material better because it was in their own language. If they could explain it, they owned it.
As we continue to adjust to this new self-isolation that has seen learning move to the digital classroom, students are reading and responding to texts, participating in discussions, asking each other questions and getting real feedback. Whether they realize it or not, they’re also advancing their education, for in being able to explore concepts and explain them in our own words, they grow their understanding – just as students did on a regular basis in the classroom through small and whole class activities.
In their responses they type over the computer, I know it’s them for the most part – not because of the grammatical mistakes, which there are some – but because they type like they speak. And that makes me smile because it’s some semblance of before in a time where the only question on everyone’s mind is what happens next.[Read more…]