Reciprocity in life & the classroom

Ted talks always seem to blow me away, no matter what age the speaker is. Mostly, we seem to want to hear from “experts” in the field, the ones who have done extensive research, and been able to apply it in their real lives. What happens when we take in to account what children or students want? Is it possible to have a reciprocal relationship with students in the classroom where it is not solely up to the teachers or administration what and how students learn.

Adora Svitak reminds me of Logan and his Ted talk that he gave. As adults, we feel as if we are the experts in our field, which is life. We think that the restrictions and rules we put in place for students in the classroom are always necessary. As adults we are more straightforward and generally more rational thinkers. But, this is not always great as Adora points out. As adults we limit ourselves to what the rational part of our mind can imagine, and what we do is place these same limitations on our students in the classroom as well.

Instead of letting what we as adults can rationally fathom, we should learn from students as Adora suggests. In the classroom we should have our students help us choose the kind of materials we use as manipulatives and aids. Our students will be as digitally and technologically as advanced as we are, so why don’t we enlist their help in finding educational sites and resources that we can use in the classroom? Also, instead of giving them restrictions on what they can and cannot use for oral presentations, why don’t we allow them to run where their imaginations might take them and let them blow us away?

Observing parents with their young children as well as teachers you hear a lot of : “no, that’s not right, do it this way.” When children color outside of the lines, have huge ambitions, or think big ideas that don’t seem rational to us, we bring them back to what we think are acceptable expectations. Again, instead we should look to students and children to think outside of the box. We can achieve so much if we only let ourselves. Also, our students could achieve so much more if we discontinued our restrictions.

Obviously in life there are restrictions that are put on children and students that are there only to keep them safe or out of trouble. Neither child nor adult knows everything. But, think of the endless possibilities that could occur if we only worked together utilizing our children’s and students’ voices instead of stifling their curiosity and creativity.

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10 thoughts on “Reciprocity in life & the classroom

  1. ashlynhansondiglit says:

    I really love this post, Hillary!! After reading your blog and thinking back to mine, I would agree that even though our TED Talks were given by two very different individuals, their end goal is relatively the same. As adults, it can be such a struggle to get “outside the box” and allow ourselves to do things in unconventional ways, simply because we have been taught since birth what is right and what is wrong and how things should be done. I strongly feel that opening up the classroom to students’ creativity and imagination and giving them some say in their own learning would be beneficial for everyone involved!

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  2. hillarybollish says:

    Ashlyn,
    I totally agree. As adults we become set in our ways and it becomes harder for us to open up to other ways than how we have approached a problem in the past. You make a great point when you say that since birth we have been taught what is “right” and “wrong”. I think that sometimes the way children approach things is not wrong, it is just as adults not the best or most effective methods, so we tell them that it is the “wrong” way to approach something,
    Hillary

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  3. blogwithkel says:

    I love the idea of having students play a role in their learning. Students should have the biggest influence on their learning. If something isn’t working they should get a say, if they feel more time is needed the teacher should not blow by. It is important to regulate teacher and student collaboration in order for equal learning for each individual student.

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    • hillarybollish says:

      Kelly,
      I agree, I think that if something isn’t working students should get a say in how it is improved in the future. Otherwise we are only teaching how we THINK they will learn best, not how they actually will learn the best. If we collaborate with students I believe that more would be interested in learning.

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  4. haleyhanks says:

    Hillary,
    This was an awesome TedTalk! I went ahead and watched it because I thought it looked good and I was impressed! I completely agree with you when you say we should discontinue restrictions with children. They sometimes think of the craziest things but who knows, they could be on to something life changing. We should never ignore children curiosity.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Haley

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    • hillarybollish says:

      Thanks Haley, I thought it was definitely a great TedTalk too! That’s so true, many times younger children/students do think of wild and out of the box ideas, but sometimes they work! I think that if we continue to “reward” students with praise for their ideas, they could continue to have more creative ideas into their adulthood instead of being suppressed with now they are “supposed” to think.

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  5. kelseaprieels says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog and watching this TEDTalk! I think you had a lot of great points in your blog and I think it could help us as future teachers to allow our students to help us make these decisions. I think students would be more successful if they got to put their input in and make some of their own decisions on what things to use for their presentations instead of being told to use PowerPoint. I wish I would have been able to make some of the decisions or help my teachers make the decisions every once in a while.

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    • hillarybollish says:

      Thanks, Kelsea! I agree with the fact that powerpoint, although it is more technological than say a poster, is falling behind in our quickly changing technological world. I think that letting students explore and find new and improved ways to present information in the classroom.
      Hillary

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  6. mackennamarie says:

    This is a great post! I think that your suggestions about students being able to do presentations however they see fit is really thought provoking. I think that that would be a great way to let the students show off their creativity. Really great thought!

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    • hillarybollish says:

      Tanks, Mackenna! I think it’s so important for students to have input on how/resources that they use to learn. They are the ones who need to learn this information, so we should help them learn it the best way that they can. I agree, if we let them, students can surprise us with their ideas and presentations.

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