Monday, January 11, 2016

When does learning happen?

I was recently surprised by an answer to a good question. Here’s the question asked by a teacher, both of himself and his audience of educators: How do I know when my students are learning?

“I know that they are learning by the questions they ask of me or each other in response to what we are doing.” His response was excellent and pointed to the fact that learning is not a destination, but a pathway that moves to further learning and, when good council is present to guide - wisdom. Many times teachers will comment that they have prepared a set of great questions to ask of students, only to have them be cast aside for different pathways of learning brought about by fantastic questions students offered in response.

A former high school teacher in my life used to close out Friday afternoons with us and pray a blessing over us before we departed. Anticipating the opportunities and pathways, some of them not worth taking, that we may encounter before Monday morning, I remember her frequent expression “remember who you are and why you are here.” The often used words were offered with a quick smile and with a humorous tone, but I was certain then that there was a real level of challenge that was meant to be taken quite seriously. That phrase was used with enough regularity that we grew to anticipate the quip each week.

What do the questions we have for our students reveal about what we believe? What are the questions we want to have so commonplace our students grow to ask them on their own?

“Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” are two key questions that shape learning; our unique answer to
them at LCES is part of what makes Christian education distinct. Our students are God’s children,
uniquely and wonderfully made by their creator. They are challenged to see themselves as being ready to have hands quick to serve, eyes prone to marvel, and hearts ready to love others and love God’s amazing world.


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