We all have those kids in our class who have a negative view of themselves as learners, who have possibly been seen as a ‘failure’ for a variety of reasons; be it low ‘test scores’, can’t spell, can’t read as ‘fast’ as others, not able to answer questions as fast as others, not being able to ‘keep up’ or get ‘finished’… there are many reasons why these kids do not see themselves as learners, who label themselves ‘dumb’ and because of past experiences have lost motivation to even try things.
I have a classic case in my class this year.
This boy has no confidence in himself as a learner and after 6 or 7 years of coming out with ‘the wrong numbers’ on ‘tests’ or not understanding things the teacher says or being made to learn at the same pace as everyone else or…or…or… (the list could go on) he has come to his own conclusion that he is not a learner, can’t learn, won’t risk being wrong, and won’t try if it means he will look stupid.
But something happened today.
I witnessed this boy beginning the process of ‘unlearning’ this negative impression he has of himself as a learner. I literally SAW him take ONE small step up the staircase of confidence! It was AMAZING.
This boy who has lost motivation to try almost everything sat for 40 minutes while I introduced #NZreadaloud4. Now this is not an easy thing to do… because it requires kids to concentrate, think, and share as we discussed our initial thoughts and predictions of the book. As I read the blurb and we shared our understanding of Pip and his dilemma with Dad, his brother Nick, and Katie the girl next door… this boy was ‘sketchnoting’. I had introduced sketchnoting as a way to use their ‘read aloud notebook’ back in week one … many kids loving that their notes can be pictures, important words in a larger font, thought bubbles, speech bubbles, arrows, text boxes, diagrams – they can turn them into some graphic design!
This boy’s sketchnote was fairly simple BUT gee was it the best thing that happened to me today:) What was so memorable was that after we had finished the session, he came over to me to SHOW ME! He was SO PROUD of his work and better than that he knew what he was going to do next time to make it better!
This ONE moment today has got me out of my recent ‘slump’ about what I am doing.
This ONE moment has cemented for me how imperative the relationship building process is in the first few weeks of a new year AND the importance of teaching and embedding a Growth Mindset culture.
This ONE moment today is confirmation that spending TIME building a safe, supportive learning community is worth EVERY minute.
This ONE moment has me knowing that continuing to talk to each other EVERYDAY about our ‘class mantras’ and discussing Growth Mindset in the context of their tasks is worth EVERY minute.
This ONE moment has made my week.
This ONE moment is the reason I teach:)
Here are our class mantras which I now hear the kids using on a regular basis:)