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Mr G Online
Jan 19

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Last month I started this series of reflections on Habits of the Mind. I completed Part 1 and 2 quickly….. then Summer Holidays arrived. In the spirit of the Persistence Habit, I’m finally ready to continue with Part 3 – Supple/Sensorial, in preparation for returning to work soon to continue work on Habits as a staff and student community.

Thinking flexibly

 As a Learner…

          • Do you use books, Twitter, blogging, social bookmarking sites or Video sites like Youtube to search for information and advice?
          •  Do you try out new ways of solving mathematical/arithmetical problems and develop a bank of strategies that work efficiently for different situations?
          • Are you an early adopter/trialler of new tools, techniques, strategies?
          • Do you write multiple plans and drafts of texts to test out the best results?
          • Do you seek advice, admit you need help, face the prospect of failure or challenge?
          • Do you take courses in your own time to try out new experiences?

OR….

  • Do you steadfastly accept that what you have done and learnt in the past is good enough since it has “got you this far in life quite successfully, thank you very much”?
  • Do you stick with one successful strategy that you are confident in using regardless of whether alternatives are more efficient or can lead to greater understanding of mathematical concepts?
  • Are you afraid to try anything new because you might not find it easy or useful?
  • Do you find excuses to avoid challenge in your life?

As a Teacher…

  • Do you encourage an independent AND interdependent classroom environment in which children make both individual and collaborative decisions?
  •  Do you provide your students opportunities to explore new ways of solving mathematical/arithmetical problems and develop a bank of strategies that work efficiently for different situations?
  • Do you provide a range of options for children to choose and encourage them to use a variety of tools?
  • Do you write multiple plans and drafts of texts to test out the best results?
  • Do you have a classroom where the children seek advice from you, fellow students, other teachers, outside resources ?
  • Do you present open ended problems, project based learning, group and independent inquiry opportunities that require the students to challenge, test, fail and succeed ALL during the same task?

OR….

  • Do you steadfastly continue to teach in the same way as you have  in the past since it has “got you and (most) of your students this far in life quite successfully, thank you very much”?
  • Do you stick with teaching the one successful strategy that you are confident in using regardless of whether alternatives are more efficient or can lead to greater understanding of mathematical concepts?
  • Are you afraid to try  new strategies and pedagogy because they might not improve your student learning in the short term or you may be seen to struggle in front of peers or students?
  • Do you find excuses to avoid changing your teaching or classroom management style?
  • Do you TELL your students how to do something so that they never have to think for themselves?

Creating, imagining, and innovating 

 As a Learner… 

          • Do you try a different presentation tool for every project you attempt?
          • Do you spend a lot of time in your day thinking about new ideas, inventing, looking for a way of doing something no one else has done before?
          • Do you write a lot? Do you have a go at stories, songs, poetry, play writing, comedy sketches?
          • Do you try new apps, web tools, software to see if they can enhance your ability to generate original material?
          • Do you have a go at creative pursuits like model making, painting, sewing, carpentry, etc?
          • Do you try to improve other people’s ideas and solve problems that will make something work better?
OR….
  • Do you stick to the same tried and true way of presenting information because you have always done it that way?
  • Do you always ask other people to solve your problems?
  • Do you give up as soon as you can’t solve something?
  • Do you just use other people’s ideas because it saves time and effort?

As a Teacher…

  • Do you vary your presentation styles and tools as a model to students to be innovative?
  • Do you provide opportunities for students  in the classroom to  think about new ideas, inventing, looking for a way of doing something no one else has done before?
  • Do you allow a lot of free time for students to write a lot? Do you model a wide range of genres?
  • Do you model how you use new technology to give students inspiration for new ways of creating?
  • Do you plan for enough opportunities for creative arts and construction in your classroom, and not just during specific lesson times?
OR….
  • Are your lessons based on question and one answer opportunities, always follow the same structure, involve passive listening and responding and are largely text based with little opportunity for creative expression or individuality?

Responding with wonderment and awe

 As a Learner…

          • Do you get excited when something new is introduced?
          • Do you look forward to challenges, find new information fascinating, actively look for something of interest in every topic?
          • Actively participate at every opportunity and proactively contribute so that your involvement makes things interesting to you?
OR…….
          • Do you switch off because you assume you will not find something interesting?
          • Do you have a very narrow range of interests and fail to engage in many activities, leading to self inflicted boredom?
          • Are you judgemental and negative towards new ideas or particular people who present new ideas?

As a Teacher…

  • Do you prepare learning opportunities in which you are actively involved in the learning, don’t know the answer or where the task will lead to?
  • Do your students see your enthusiasm and excitement in the above learning tasks and get to experience you as a learner, not an all knowing teacher?
  • Is your classroom learning environment one that involves investigation, collaboration, discovery, discussion, challenge, disagreement, freedom of expression?
OR….
  • Do you set tasks for your students without any involvement from you as a fellow learner?
  • Is your learning environment passive and controlled?
  • Can people sense a lack of excitement in your day to day teaching?

Remaining open to continuous learning

 As a Learner…

          • Are you constantly investigating and searching for new ideas and opinions?
          • Do you actively seek out people who may have a different perspective to you?
          • Do you take on new challenges that you are not an expert in?

OR…

          • Do you think you finished learning years ago, you’re happy staying in your comfort zone and don’t want to be challenged?

As a Teacher…

  • Do you always challenge your students to go one step further in investigations and to accept that being finished 20 minutes early is not an achievement but an opportunity to explore further?
  • Do you actively involve yourself in learning new things IN FRONT OF the students?
  • Do you allow students to pursue their own interests to show them that learning is not confined to the classroom or between 9 -3:30, Monday to Friday?
  • Do you allow your students to demonstrate a superior understanding of something than you?
OR…
  • Do you reinforce the idea that finishing work is more important than learning something new or taking time to investigate further?
  • Do you always have to be the Expert in the grade and have the Final Say?
  • Do you set homework that involves practising skills half the class already have, thereby discouraging the opportunity for independent investigations leading to new learning?

Gather data through all senses:
Use your natural pathways! Pay attention to the world around you Gather data through all the senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight.

 As a Learner…

          • Are you a hands on learner, getting physically involved in learning and creating?
          • Do you actively go to museums, explore natural environments, try to be a tourist in your own backyard?
          • Do you like science experiments, documentaries, playing around with gadgets, building things from instructions, cooking, gardening?
          • Do you like to look at pictures and objects and investigate their physical properties?

OR…

  • Do you just like reading and listening to oral presentations, find it difficult to analyse pictorial representations ?

As a Teacher…

  • Do you organise hands on experiences at every opportunity?
  • Do you use models, videos, pictures, guest speakers to support or supplement written material?
  • Do you organise regular excursions so that children can experience things first hand?
  • Do you allow for a lot of physical activity in your learning experiences?
OR…
  • Do you rely on textbooks, worksheets, instructions on the whiteboard or verbal instructions that cater for a small percentage of your students?
FINAL THOUGHTS
A couple of things I noticed doing this reflection:
  • many of these Habits overlap and I found myself being a bit repetitive; and
  • I have a lot to improve on in these areas.
While I am a creative person, being a singer/songwriter, guitarist, drawer and story teller, some of this has disappeared from my teaching. I used to teach a lot through music. My classrooms used to be filled with my artwork. I was a great story teller. I have to get back to that. I can also be too text reliant. I’m going to challenge myself to be “less wordy” in this blog this year and use more visuals, not to just to ‘decorate’ but to follow the famous saying, ‘ a picture paints a thousand words’.
What about you? What are your challenges? How can you improve your habits? Do you have anything to add to my points? Join the conversation.

COMING UP – Final Habits of Mind Post: Exact/Understanding/Silly

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2 Responses to “So, teachers, do you have good or bad Habits of Mind? Pt 3 – Supple/Sensorial”

  1. Leilen Says:

    Hi there. I LOVE your Habits of Mind images. I’d love to use them in my classroom. Are you ok with that?

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