What’s something new that you’ve learned in the past 24 hours that you previously had not known? This question was proposed by Angela Maiers to a room full of teachers yesterday at the OPS Fall ESL Conference, and it was amazing at the various responses that people quickly started sharing with their tablemates. Angela then showed us several images of things that she had learned in her previous 24 hours. The challenge then became to take these small instances that we have everyday, or what Angela calls ‘eyewitness’ events, and pass them on to our students. I quickly heard the whispers that followed…”Well, what do you mean?”…”Why would I do that?”…”I teach Kindergarten, my students won’t care and we have more important things to work on”. The whispers continued for a few moments, but then they began to dissipate.
Why not share new information that comes across our desks, computers, TVs, or what have you? It’s current news. It’s happening as we speak. It’s the here and now that we’re trying to prepare our students for, so why not discuss them as they’re taking place? Or, even better, have your students share what they’ve learned in the past 24 hours. These personal anecdotes could be so transformational in a classroom! They could let us in to students’ lives. They could hold us accountable for doing a “job” of finding something new. They could empower children to understand what is happening in and around their world.
My challenge begins tomorrow. Instead of asking what the students did over the weekend tomorrow morning, I’m going to propose a new question, “What is something new that you learned over the weekend?” I’m looking forward to hearing an array of responses. I’m sure that a lot of them won’t quite understand what I mean. But I will share something new first, then open the floor up… My goal is to hopefully document these ‘eyewitness’ accounts in some manner! We’ll have to see how that goes…
Here’s to trying something new!
“Be the change you want the world to see” – Ghandi