Learning is forever journey. How you make it meaningful and rewarding experiences? Try using The Four Questions that I got from Foundations of Teaching for Learning 5: Planning for Teaching and Learning at Coursera.
These are the four questions (Hallbert & Kaser, 2013):
• Can you name two people in this school/setting who believe that you can be a success in life?
To start a journey, you need someone who believe, support, and encourage you to succeed the journey itself. Everyone need to be recognized and respected. This is one of the basis human right that often ignored by many educators around the world. We often ignore our students and do not believe that they could not be a success in life. We often label them as stupid, lazy, and unsuccessful learners. Therefore, it is difficult for our students to name people in school who believe, encourage, and inspire them to be successful person.
As quotes saying, “they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Students could forget teacher’s explanation, but they could not forget why and how you believe in them. It’s time to create supporting and caring environment that are memorable for students. By saying simple praise and encouragement, “I know you could do it!” “Good Job!” “I believe you can make it better.” “I believe you’ll have great future!” don’t be surprised when your students will mention your name when somebody asks them “Can you name two people who believe that you can be success in life?”
• Where are you going with your learning?
Learning is lifelong journey. Unfortunately, most of the time, our students often get lots in the journey. They don’t know where they are going with their own learning. They often don’t know what is the purpose of learning of all lessons in school. As students grow older, they are forced to learning all those things without knowing or asking their reasons. We often are trapped just giving quantitative score as feedback for their learning, without explaining what they need to do, why they get that score, what their strength and weakness. As traveler in the journey of achieving dream, students need their own ‘road map’ to guide which track they need to go, which way they need to leave, and what they need to achieve their goal. We can give simple guidance such as why they learn this topic and how they can achieve their dreams. Our students need more than just score.
• How are you doing with your learning?
As I said before, we often ignore students’ hearts in the learning journey. We never asked them their perspectives, feelings, and emotions about what they are learning. In the journey, it is important to ask traveler’s feeling about the journey itself. If we force the traveler to climb in the midst of their total exhausting condition, the journey will not be effective. We need to learn when we need to stop or keep moving forward to make the journey meaningful. It is not about getting the journey done, it is about how you getting the journey done. This questions need to be applied to students learning journey. We often force students to adapt with our curriculum that might not be suitable with their personality. We make everyone reading, learning, doing, and assessing the same thing to our very different students. This is important for teachers to assess not only what students gain from our lesson, but how they are doing in our class. Asking their feeling, emotion, expression of what they get help us to guide learners what they need to do to maximize their learning.
• Where are you going next with your learning?
In the journey, one of the most important questions, we need to ask ourself is “So What?” We don’t travel just for having fun for now. But for our better tomorrow. So we need to know what exactly we would to do, to go, to say, to live a life after this journey. Similarly, our students need to know where they are going next with all topics they learn in class. How they could apply it in daily life. We need to encourage our students to have growth mindset by training them to ask, “Okay, now you know this, you can do this, so what ? Where are you going next with your learning?”
Finally, learning is unending journey. It’s a lifelong cycle that we will do over and over again. It’s not about how long you are going with the journey, but how you made the journey matters.
Hallbert & Kaser. (2013). Spirals of Inquiry. Retrieved from https://d396qusza40orc.cloudfront.net/teach5/Documents/Week%203.2%20Four%20Questions.pdf on April 13th, 2014.