“Who has a passion for literacy?” A sea of hands rose into the air. This was the way our day started at the weekend EARCOS Workshop in Bangkok.
Elaine Voge and I travelled to the Thai Chinese International School to present a weekend workshop titled Best Practices in Elementary Schools: Balanced Literacy.
As we worked with teachers from around Asia, some starting out as beginning teachers, others experienced in their practice, we confirmed some big ideas.
Here’s what I know to be true…
Learners love action: Sitting and listening to information was important, but as soon as we modelled our ideas, teachers sat up, and watched and listened.
Learners need to move: We know that learners can only take so much on board at once. Elaine and I had to make a plan that would include getting our learners to move often in order to refresh their brains and make room for learning.
Learners need time to process information: We needed to stop often to let the teachers absorb information. They sometimes wrote themselves post-it notes, sometimes jotted down ideas, and had many chances to turn and talk with a neighbor or group, to voice their ideas and grow their thinking.
Just because I teach it, it doesn’t mean they’ve learned it: The teachers won’t remember everything we talked about at the workshop, They will take away key pieces that they are ready to learn within their zone of proximal development. This means that we need to teach (I do, you do) skills and strategies often.
Learners need time to Practice: We have Active Engagement in our mini lessons for a reason. Teachers learned about conferring, and then had a chance to practice using student writing. They confirmed their ideas and came up with new wonderings
Learners need time to reflect and set goals: At the end of our session, teachers wrote to themselves with their key take-away, and set goals for their next steps.
These are some of what I know to be true about best practices in learning. How are you fitting these things in your daily practice? Action, movement, time, processing information, practice, teach and re-teach and re-teach, reflect and set goals.
What do YOU know to be true about learning?