Can I Be Excited Now?
Yesterday was a pretty darn cool day. From 8am to 2:30pm I was able to sit in comfy chair at Northwest Kiwanis Camp house that we rent to work on PLC stuff near gorgeous Beausite Lake here in Chimacum, WA. I met and worked all day with our middle and high school Math and Science PLC teams. It was, as always, a most inspiring and satisfying day of “work.” All staff meetings should be this way. Our PLC work isn’t really the focus of this post but I do have to say how excited I am that the work our Science team is going to be doing to video tape and bring back in June to analyze centers around using Socratic Circles in our Science classes! I mean really, how cool is that!
Shortly after the high school teachers left our entire middle school staff (all 15 of us) met at the same site for our 3-hour building planning session. It’s wonderful to meet where we get to cook the food we’re going to eat and sit in comfort away from our everyday surroundings. And did I mention this beautiful location is only a ten minute drive from our school? (Costs $100 to rent it, too.) Our discussion that afternoon/evening centered around our school climate. We spent some time sharing our visions for how we want our school to be and how we want our students to be doing and how we want to interact with our students to build positive relationships. I have worked with these wonderful people long enough to feel safe sharing my newest thoughts and beliefs. I say that because since learning from PLN through Twitter I have changed many of my core beliefs and altered the way I teach! It was a risk to share with my colleagues but a risk I felt I could take because we all work very well together We call our middle school team a family and in many ways we are family.
So yeah, I shared some of my newest thoughts. Have I become the black sheep? I can only wonder. So today I thought I’d follow up and share some of the resources that led to the many changes in my core beliefs about education and the way I interact with my students in my classroom. I sent out a few emails with links to the whole staff and I want to record those emails here. I hope the resources I share will spur discussion and maybe, dare I hope, change in our small school. The way we all get along and the sheer smallness (sorry, couldn’t think of a better word) of our school makes such change so possible. Here’s what I sent out:
Email #1 concerning awards ceremonies:
Some thoughts for your consideration:
Email #2 concerning praise:
This will rock your world:
Email #3 concerning rewards and punishments:
Here’s some more reading material to keep us all thinking about our practice. I’m sorry it’s all bent towards one side of the spectrum. If you have articles with research to the contrary maybe you can share with all of us, too.
So if you’re between books or don’t mind a little more reading piled upon your busy schedules these articles will stimulate your mind and in some cases raise your blood pressure. Jump in, the water’s fine!
Here is an article by author and researcher Alfie Kohn called The Risks of Rewards. It has had me doing a lot of thinking and questioning. http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/ror.htm
Here’s a conversation with Alfie Kohn with a bit more about rewards and praise called Punished by Rewards:
This article is probably even more controversial and I offer it here to you all as food for thought. Without disagreement, learning is difficult so let’s discuss this even if we disagree. From Degrading to De-Grading by Alfie Kohn:
This one blew my mind. Dan Pink has some startling research on what motivates people. You have got to see this:
Here is some info I have gathered on Feedback (there is still a lot to learn but this is a good start if I do say so myself):
If you wouldn’t mind sharing your thoughts on my blog please leave a comment. It would be nice to include everyone in a discussion but there may those who aren’t interested and they might not appreciate a reply to all.
So I’ll shut up and stop bothering everyone. For now
So I’m wondering if I can be excited now or is it too soon? I want to be excited and feel a bit excited that I shared those resources, but I also know it’s too soon. Hope is a good thing!