Thursday, February 18, 2010

Puppy Love and Learning

puppies In My L.O.V.E. Affair with Learning from Angela Maiers Educational Services, Angela shares some great thoughts. She says,

“I love learning. I love being around people who are passionate about their own lifelong journey of learning and teaching. It's contagious.

As I reflect on these past 20 years of working in this great profession of education, and particularly the past few years of worldwide connections I've been fortunate to find due to the blogosphere, I'm excited about learning now more than ever. I strive for at least one WOW each day.”

If you get a chance, please read her whole post because it is truly wonderful!

After reading this, I realized that all my life, I have loved learning too. I love to learn something new. I do know that the older I get, the more I’m willing to take risks to learn something new. I’m sure you’ve heard that saying, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.” That is how I feel about learning.

There is so much out there that I would love to do! I am starting to make a wish list of things I want to learn. Then I’m doing some research on how I plan to learn this. Thank goodness for the internet! It sure makes learning easier.

I learned how to knit by watching Youtube videos. Then I found a local knitting group that meets once a week and they are a wonderful support system as I learn to create many new things. Finding others who have the same interests is very important, especially at times when I feel frustrated or I need motivation.

I have learned some important things over the years:

1. It’s okay if I don’t learn like everyone else.

2. It’s okay if I struggle and make mistakes.

3. It helps me if I find others who are trying to learn the same things as I am.

4. I don’t have to learn everything all at once.

5. It’s okay to ask for help.

6. It’s okay to laugh at my own mistakes.

7. It’s okay if others doubt me, but I need to have faith in myself.

8. It’s important for me to finish what I have started.

9. Usually things don’t turn out perfectly the first time.

10. It make take a few tries to get things the way I want.

11. It’s okay to make changes if it makes it easier for me.

This made me think about my students. How can I share my love of learning with them? How can I “infect” them with this desire? Maybe I don’t need to “infect” them and maybe they have this desire but don’t know how to show it.

Some of my students do a great job about showing their desire to learn. They remind me of little puppies wagging their tails and shaking all over with excitement when it is time to learn something new. They can’t wait to get the materials and get impatient when they have to listen to directions. They see water and they can’t wait to jump in wholeheartedly, without any reservations.

Then I have others who are very cautious about learning something new. They are the puppies who really want to play in the water but are afraid to dip their paws in because they don’t know what they will find. They don’t want to be hurt or embarrassed but they want to be like the other puppies who are having fun in the water.

Then there are the puppies who are just plain afraid to go near the water and will sit down and refuse to move. These puppies have to be dragged to the water, coaxed into playing and may eventually decide that it isn’t bad at all. But you feel so guilty for forcing them into doing something they don’t want to do. Sometimes forcing them can make it worse and they never want to go near the water again.

I need to reach all of these students. I want them to have a WOW each day like Angela. One of the best ways I know is to model this for the students. I want to put my wow on the board each morning and share with my students about it. I may even ask them to write in their journals about it. Many of my WOWs end up as blog posts because I’m so excited about what I read. If students know this will be expected, they can look for the WOWs during the day so they can talk/write about it the next day. Eventually, it will become natural and they will do this without thinking about it.

I believe that as the students become more comfortable with this, it might actually encourage the cautious and reluctant students to be more open. I think this would be a successful way of encouraging their love of learning so they can find ways to improve their lives in and out of the classroom.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'the rest of the family' by: Paul Moody

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