Thursday, 4 September 2014

Challenge Day 4: What do I love most about teaching?

What I love most about teaching is that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I see a student totally absorbed in what they are doing; so absorbed that they don't realise that their mates have wandered off for morning tea, or up to the field to play touch rugby without them. 

I love it when the students are engaged, owning their learning and finding purpose in what they are doing. inspires me to explore ways to foster learning environments where this happens regularly. Reflections on "design thinking" will surely surface in a future blog........ 

The most recent occurrence of these warm,fuzzies for me was yesterday (and actually it lingered until the end of school today) and the fortunate student was Sam.

I think I may have mentioned Sam in an earlier post......His Impact Project this semester started with him coming to me wanting to use a 3D printer and ended up with him being involved in selecting which printer the school would buy and then building it. Impact Projects are a full day a week of non-timetabled school where students are responsible for their own learning which must follow 4 pillars:- 

  • student ownership
  • learning above and beyond the classroom
  • a quality product
  • participation and/or contribution to/in the community

Sam and Tim - happy at work!
So......yesterday was build day of said printer and Sam was at school at 7.55am (school doesn't start until 8.50) and Tim @mindkits wasn't arriving until 10.00am. The build started and Sam co-opted some mates into helping, whilst demonstrating great leadership along the way. (Students collaborating; the warm fuzzies are starting....)

Morning tea came and went and the whole crew stayed on task without stopping. At lunchtime they were pretty much forced to stop and get some air and sustenance. This is when I ran into Sam and I asked on scale of 1-10 (10 being awesome) how was today shaping up. He paused for a second and said "11 no actually 12". He refused to get the school bus home and had his mum collect him at 5.00pm so he could "just get one more part built". Where was the teacher I hear you ask? I popped in and out to check on things, offered to assist but was politely told I wasn't needed. Was I needed to keep them on task? Not on your life. Tim, the supplier, said that Sam and his team, just got on with it, didn't need assistance, knew how to follow instructions and only needed him for a few technical issues.

The posse at work
So what was it? Sam & co were totally engaged, even absorbed in their work, they owned their learning 100% and their sense of purpose is huge. It was above and beyond their needs and was meeting the needs (or solving a problem) for their school community. They have not only built the school's first 3D printer but Sam and his posse are now the school experts. Note: Student is the expert and my role throughout has been that of facilitator. So liberating! I LOVE it. Active learning at the fore!

PS. As I was leaving school this afternoon Sam was peering through an internal window as his first 3D printed prototype was being printed.

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