Most mornings I begin the class by projecting an image of an artwork. I have been doing this to facilitate communication skills, building ideas off of each other and ultimately appreciating the beauty of art and how it helps to understand the world around us. I normally do this through thinking routines and guided discussions and have had some success. But I think my students have plateaued in their thinking and I want to push it further. I need to learn more to teach them effectively and begin building some more philosophical discussions. In our time of mass information, and a lot of misinformation, students require the skills necessary to value their own ideas, the ideas of others, and to ask questions about the world around them. I took some philosophy courses during my undergrad but have never formally taught any before. Recently, I started learning how to play the ukelele but that is a journey to continue with my five-year-old. Had I been closer to my workshop in Canada I may have chosen wood lathing or building my own forge but as that is an ocean away I wanted to learn something to impact my students in what I see as some immediate needs.
What I want to learn in the action plan are some ways to effectively teach some beginner philosophy. I was inspired by the Sandwich article which I would highly recommend, and try with your friends. While it may be a little hefty for Grade Fours, it is a great jumping off point to try an adapted structure in my class. I have also started using Structured Word Inquiry in the classroom and would like to incorporate that into a lesson as we unpack the word philosophy itself.
My action plan so far:
Some questions and ideas I have:
- How do I use language as an effective teaching tool considering Ron Ritchhart’s cultural forces?
- How do I promote considerate behaviour and responses to other ideas that they may not agree with, possibly looking up accountable talk?
- How do I search Twitter effectively for posts related to this?
- Will the learning be too big, how far should I go?
One of the readings I connected to was Learning that Connects as it made me think about how I have a responsibility to learn things on my own that I notice as immediate needs of my students. The First 20 Hours and the four steps to learning something reminded me firstly about my own life with a young child and even as a teacher where time is always a premium, and secondly it reminded me about the inquiry cycle and how our students learn best by tuning in, finding out, sorting out, and going further.
No, I won’t be an expert in teaching philosophy or playing the ukelele, but hopefully, I can find a few hours to practice and help my students and my child (yay for four chords). How will this help me empathize with my students? Understanding the time it takes to learn different skills from how to identify rocks to plotting latitude and longitude to find remainders in a division question or crafting a well thought out learning journal post will help me further develop the patience to help them through their first 20 hours and the understanding of what it takes to learn a new skill.