I’ve had many opportunities to share my views and practices around assessment with a particular focus on how we use technology but also shift the conversation towards grading and more on documentation and reflection. A really important component of all of this is how we model our thinking and learning. Inquiry isn’t just for students. I share my learning project where I learned to play the guitar and am always on the look out for educators who do similar. It’s great to see teachers sharing their stories of learning in public.
Friday I was conducting a workshop with educators in Winnipeg and Roy Norris, who I’ve met a few times shared a project he did this year with his family. Living in the prairies we drive by fields of wheat on a regular basis and he wondered as perhaps many of us have, “How much wheat do you need to grow in order to make a loaf of bread?”
Roy and his family set out to seek the answer and did us all the favor of documenting the learning.
Each entry reports what they did and some reflection on the progress. He also ends each post with “this is all we know so far”. Some suggest that inquiry is only about answering questions that aren’t googable. This is certainly a question that you might find online but what you can’t find online is the experience and knowledge that was gained as a result of doing the work. The other part of this is all the unintended learning. Roy and his kids understanding of this process will no doubt stay with them and be applied in many contexts. More importantly, Roy models what it’s like to learn something new for his students and his own children.
If I asked your students, “How does your teacher learn?” What would they say? Could they even answer the question? I know the student’s in Roy’s class could. It seems to me that since we’re in the business of learning, that we regularly and consistently live this out. If we’re going to use the phrase “life long learners” we better start showing kids and each other what this means. How would our schools be different if every teacher shared their learning in this way?
Image: Courtesy Roy Norris