Sunday, September 6, 2015

Growing Confident, Curious and Capable Learners

Choosing How to Teach and 3Cs are making a difference in the lives of teachers and students.  The feedback I have received from teachers taking the professional development courses about the philosophical and practical changes has been wonderful! 

Here is another 3Cs to think about: as teachers we should try our best to ensure that graduating students are confidentcurious and capable learners, who will continue to learn on their own. These are the outcomes for using the model explained in the Choosing How to Teach - book.

We cannot think about education as a fixed 12-year long period of learning that prepares students for living in 21st century world.  It is just the beginning of the journey. Lifelong learning belongs into a large scale paradigm change in education. The way we perceive the nature of knowledge and learning, and the role of a teacher are starting to change to reflect the 21st century and the needs of information/knowledge society, where lifelong learning is a must. Growth mindset is one part of lifelong learning.

Imagine what happens if students leave the formal education system hating learning: they will be trapped in many ways because not only is the world changing faster than ever before, also employers require their employees to be willing to learn throughout the career.

So, how to help our students to become confident, curious and capable in learning? 
  1. Use non-punitive assessment that emphasizes the value of learning from making mistakes and reconstructing one's own thinking.
  2. Make learning meaningful for students by embedding choices to pique students cognitive interest and curiosity.
  3. Lead students to understand the value of collaborative meaning-making by modeling it in the classroom.
The confidence and the positive academic self-concept grow from engaging in the learning process and refining one's own thinking. It is awesome to hear students to explain how they understood the misconceptions they had before! Using constructive practices in the classroom helps students to reflect their own thinking and learning.

Curiosity is very important for all learning, and an easy way to encourage the use of curiosity in the classroom is to embed informal learning to the formal curriculum. Does it really matter where students found the information if they can cite their source and justify using it?

Collaboration (both virtual and f2f) and being able to communicate about learned in writing or talking are big parts of being a capable learner. Students who engage in cooperative learning during their k-12 education learn to share their own ideas and pay attention to other students' ideas as well.   

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