“Children in groups, can actually learn almost anything by themselves, using the internet, if you let them, and if they want to.”
Sugata Mitra – #silverliningforlearning Episode 2
Teaching through a pandemic gives us the opportunity to rethink our role in student learning. Can we resist our first instinct to grab tightly to what we know (the traditional classroom) and attempt to recreate it from a distance?
Instead, what might we shift in our professional practice to adapt to our new reality, where we are forced to hand over more of the responsibility for learning (and agency in learning) to our students and their families?
According to Sugata Mitra, the real skill of an educator is converting what you want to teach, into a something children actually want to learn.
What questions do children want to answer?
What’s worth learning during a pandemic?
What is no longer important to learn in 2020?
There are no “magic bullets” that will work in what lies before us. Our sphere of control has been diminished, and so the strategies we use in our teaching will need to change. By stretching our own professional growth to include many approaches to learning, we have more “tools” with which to reach out to our learners in these challenging times.
Our willingness to rethink what learning can be allows us to connect to our students in new ways, and permit them to show us what and who they can be, if we give them the freedom to learn and become.
Silver Lining for Learning: Conversation #2 with Sugata Mitra
- Day 1: Are you willing to be disturbed? Are you willing to think differently about what learning can be?
- Day 2: We no longer know best. It’s time to ask children and families what they need.
- Day 3: The long game. How are we thinking about shifting what learning looks like while schools are closed?
- Day 4: How can we turn what we want to teach into questions children want to answer?
- Day 5: How do we organize our response to this crisis so we can focus on our wellness, and the tasks that need to be done right now?