If I Am “Smart,” Do I Have to Work Hard?

October 23, 2014

A bunch of learning questions have been running through my mind today:

  • If I am “smart,” do I have to work hard?
  • If I have trouble at “learning,” do I have to work hard?
  • Can kids learn to be better learners?
  • Can adults learn to be better learners?
  • Can kids learn to play soccer together?
  • Can we become more intelligent?
  • If we put the time and can we become more intelligent?
  • If we put the time in, can we become fluent in another language or music or a sport…?
  • If I have not learned something, is it that I have not learned it yet? Or that I can’t learn it…?

I think these questions, answered honestly, would tell us a lot about our educational practices and how we approach learning.

Am I a “teacher” that disseminates the information? (Sounds like using Google…)

Or am I an “educator” that is an “Activator of Thinking?” Is it my role to enable kids to learn? If the students did not learn it, who needs to worry about that?

This all comes back to our conceptions of assessment and reporting as well. What is the report card intended to do and why do we put all this work into them? What is our purpose in them? The analogy that guides my thinking is:

“Who do kids learn more from, the COACH or the JUDGE?”

Is it the number at the end that the judge gives me on my performance that I learned from? Or, if thinking about professional sports players, is it the hours of video watched and critiqued, the work with the coach to improve, the formative feedback from coaches and teammates, the intent to improve their abilities and skills, and the discussions before, during, and after the practice or game that make all the difference? Or the score in the end? Without the other stuff, the score will not be affected…

Seems like a pretty easy question, but we need to make sure that we are utilizing this thinking with all of our students. In the end it is up to us as to how we approach learning and reporting. If we are designing great learning opportunities, do they have:

  • clear learning intentions
  • challenging success criteria
  • range of learning strategies
  • know when students are not progressing
  • providing feedback
  • visibly learns themselves

SO, how do we help all kids to know that they need to work hard? Not “You are smart so you don’t need to work hard…”

Work hard and learn tons!
D

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How do we make the most of our School Councils?

October 1, 2014

How do we make the most of our School Councils?

Last night I was part of our second meeting of our Belvedere Parkway School Council and Parent Fundraising Association (PFA). A team from the Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA – http://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/) came out to work with us on a session around what is the role of a school council and how do we utilize it to enhance the learning of students. I thought I knew a lot about the work and contribution of school councils, but I was very impressed by the knowledge that Karen and Marilyn shared and guided us through.

 

There were a number of things that I learned that were very helpful:

A School Council is a means for parents and community members to work together with the school to support and enhance student learning. A SC is legislated to advise the principal respecting matters to the school.

The Responsibility of School Councils are to:

  • Foster, develop, maintain, and reflect the culture of the school
  • Provide the opportunity to participate in the advisory role
  • Create the forum for discussion
  • Seek and represent school community views

A School Council needs opportunity to provide advice on the development of the school’s:

  1. Mission, vision, and philosophy
  2. Policies
  3. School development plan
  4. Annual results report
  5. Budget

A great quote I pulled from our session was:

“The School Council is a leader of parents…”

Probably the best thing that we got out of this, though, was this meeting helped us as a School Council in the creation of a School Council culture and the development of a sense of team, setting up how we will work together in the future…

I highly recommend having them out to your school council, as it was hugely beneficial for us! Check out the workshops from the ASCA at http://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/?page=Workshops

Work hard and learn tons!
D

 


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