My own developmental learning today

For those that know me, or talked to me for any length of time know that I am pro inquiry and pro contextual learning.  I can get very researchy (yes I did just use that word) but in essence it is because I know that it helps and improves a wide range of students.  It gives as many students as possible the ability to learn at their pace, no matter what that pace is, while still teaching a whole class.  Well today I experienced that learning for myself.

Today, we completed our first E-book using book creator (@bookcreatorapp).  This lesson was one of the most rewarding experiences ever, if you ever get a chance try doing a book like this.  Anyways, back to my learning, it all started with me trying to share this wonderful book with my parents.  The app allows you to put it in ibook, or PDF.  It is quite simple, all you do is push a button, but for some reason it was not working.  Well I ended up tweeting it out and @bookcreator sent me a tweet back with a how to tutorial, which help immensely.  It was like that perfect question, at the perfect time that created this “aha” moment for myself.  Before this I was in a state of disequilibrium, where I was getting frustrated but yet still trying things.  I was asking questions, going back to my own prior knowledge, however, I still needed one critical piece of information to move forward. 

Has this ever happened to you?  How about when you are teaching?  I know that when I am teaching through inquiry, I try to plan these critical questions and think ahead for potential problems.  I let my students be in that state of disequilibrium because it is an important state to be in.  Without it I would not have been able to retain the information given.  If I was given the tutorial ahead of time I would have just followed it and then done the work; however, if I had to teach it or do it again I wouldn’t know what to do.  Now that I have struggled through it and was given help at floundering stations I was able to retain the information.  In addition, it also shows that learning happens best in a community.  Learning is not in isolation and is created in a variety of ways.  Students learn as a community too.  We work through problems, help each other out and the learning grows from problem to problem.  At the beginning students may not know as much but by the end they are all pretty close in their understanding. 

As I look back at my experience today it just shows you that their is a lot that needs to happen for real learning to happen. Community, context, critically placed questions, a state of disequilibrium and help a long the way all contribute to this learning. Would love to hear how you create all of these things in your classroom? 


Author: MrSoClassroom

I am a grade school Teacher, promoting creativity and exploration in all of my students. My classroom is always in a state of Inquiry.

4 thoughts on “My own developmental learning today”

  1. What a post, Jonathan! So much to think about. I think that teaching through inquiry and this problem based approach to learning really helps. It constantly pushes students to think, make mistakes, and try again. I do love the use of the word, “disequilibrium.” I'm going to have to remember this word for the future.

    What continues to get me thinking though is how do we push our most struggling learners into this feeling of disequilibrium without making them feel like it's failure? I know that the multiple entry points help, and I know that the collaborative learning helps too, but I want to make sure that all of my students are really involved in the learning. I continue to play with options for my students with autism: the abstract nature of problems (and the language behind the problems) sometimes hinders their learning. How do you support this? What would you suggest?

    I think that we've had some similar conversations in the past, but I'm still thinking about this one!



  2. So I don't know what happened to my reply but I will try it again. Aviva, your questions are great ones and ones that actually formed my thesis. I wanted to explore how to make math more impactful and if my teaching through questioning and facilitation would help. Well it did. Through carefully planted questions, ones that pushed their thinking beyond or ones tha built upon their knowledge helped push students a long the continuum of learning. I think that this is how we can help our students feel more successful. We have to know when they are drowning and when they just need a little nudge. At the beginning of the unit I found that I had to do a lot more scaffolding and interrogating before they started to understand but after a couple of repeating problems they were amazing And needed less help with the concepts.

    I also think it is how we set our students up in the classroom. We need to teach our students that it is okay to fail. That failure is not a weakness but a learning point. When they understand this they will feel comfortable not getting the question, knowing that with time and practise they will.

    Don't know if that answers your question. Thanks for your comment.


  3. This does help, & is great to know. Do you have any specific examples of questions you used to scaffold this learning for students? I'm trying to get a better picture in my head.



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