Weekly Reflection: Students as teachers

Throughout this year I have been using small group workshops to teach content.  Today, a held a large addition and subtraction of decimals strategy workshop.  I had my teacher opted in students and a number of students that wanted to work on decimals in maths.  A student confidently used the strategy and met her own success criteria thus finishing her work.

She returned to the group, “I’m finished!”.

The group had moved off and a few students decided that they needed further scaffold to progress to the next step.  My extra speedy learner piped up,

“Can I teach those girls how to do it?” she asked.

“Yeah, can she teach us?” they chorused.

WOW, – of course you can.  The girls moved off and proceeded to run their own workshop.

I checked in with the learners later and performed a short formative assessment task.  One of the students confidently exclaimed that yes I can solve those problems and yes they are so easy.  She then demonstrated using the SC to solve the problem.

Snapshots such as these reinforce the learning and teaching capacity of our learners as educators.  This was one of the best workshops so far.

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Weekly Reflection: Sharing the role as teacher

The first day of school went by in a blur of new school uniforms & bags; fresh haircuts, smiling & enthusiastic faces; excited students; relieved parents; iPads; apps; no apps; iPads with faulty batteries; Tv’s; wireless; welcome powhiri; staff meetings; buckets; lollipops; gasps of amazement at our ‘new’ look classroom and ‘we have big bouncy balls to play with in class’ reactions … and much more.

Overall, my biggest impression of the day was how ready to learn my students were and enthusiastic they were to start their 1:1 digital journey.  I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the cultural knowledge, yes – knowledge of the intricate workings of technological platforms such as iPads, that my learners bought to class.  An example of this was a Year 7 student that became the expert as she modelled to the class how to delete and organise the jumble of apps – home and school – that all students had.  I took a back seat and watched his young lady stand in front of her peers and model how to move and organise apps.  Without prompting from me, she peered at the screens of her ‘students’ iPads and offered reassurance and further assistance.  She confidently walked around the assembled group completing one to one guidance and answered other app/iPad related questions.  This snapshot resonated with me as I was reminded that learners are ready to learn but are also capable and ready to teach and share what they know.  I was further reminded of the importance to the learner of creating opportunities such as this as I overhead this exchange between said year 7 student and a student from another class,

“Guess what the teacher let me do?  I used my iPad and the Tv to teach the class how to delete apps and make folders and move apps .  It was neat….”

An important element of an effective learning environment is the sharing of knowledge and providing learners with opportunities to share.  Likewise, the shift from teacher driven instruction to a collaborative approach where the learners can be the ‘teacher’.  Finally, these experiences of student experts enable my learners to have their knowledge validated and accredited.  Go the student expert!