#peel21st Blog Hop: Most Memorable Learning Experience This Fall

I’m pleased to join a group of talented Peel educators in this November submission to the #peel21st blog hop. With winter upon us, what has been your most memorable learning experience this fall? Check out my thoughts below, and be sure to hop on over to the other blog posts listed at the end.

 

You know those feelings you get when you’re about to start a task with your class that you’ve already done with another class or in a previous year? It’s like a mixture of confidence and excitement because you know what worked and what didn’t. You’re ready to refine that task, to add something or take something out, but ultimately, you know you’ll make it even better. I know the feeling all too well. And this year, I decided to extend this same opportunity to my students.

 

As I’ve commented before, my most memorable learning moment for the fall has been my realization that a re-do or retake is a very powerful learning experience. A first go at something – a paper, a project, a test – should not be the final go at that thing. When the work’s corrected and the feedback’s given, what happens then? Does the students get another chance to immediately refine things and make them better? And if the answer is no, what are we saying about the learning process? More and more I hear that learning, just like design, is a cyclical or iterative process. Providing no opportunity to fix something, if nothing else, seems decidedly linear.

 

See the full conversation…

 

Jason Richea @jrichea

Jonathan So @MrSoClassroom

Amit Mehrotra @AmitMehrotra78

Tina Zita @tina_zita

Jim Cash @cashjim

Melanie Mulcaster @the_mulc

Heather Lye @MsHLye

Erica Armstrong @ms_e_a

Matt Fletcher @HeyMrFletcher

Jason Wigmore @jaywigmore

Shivone Lewis-Young @SLewisYoung

 

15 thoughts on “#peel21st Blog Hop: Most Memorable Learning Experience This Fall”

  1. How many times have I not given my kids time to relearn. When reading your post I am reminded about the simple idea of reflection and learning. We cannot learn if we are not given an opportunity to address our mistakes. If we truly honour reflection, than as teachers we need to have them learn from their mistakes.

    Thank you for reminding me about this.

    1. It’s amazing that it’s taken me six years to figure out that relearning is learning, and not a waste of time.

  2. Hi Matthew! Loved reading your post and loved hearing how you applied the value you found in your re-do and retake experiences and so that your students would know the benefit, too. I think that is the most purely constructivist reflection that I have heard of in a long time. A re-do or a retake is a remake! We do this all the time in our minds with concepts; that’s probably a good way to characterize learning in general. Cognitive psychology is full of research and examples of how children have completely wrong ideas about how the world works but the important thing is that they have ideas and these are always changing. I just heard the other day, in fact, a young child say “wind comes from clouds.” No one thought any less of her… In a way, what an astute observation; she noticed a link between windy days and fast moving clouds. But he wind concept will keep getting better and better I am sure. So, thanks for your post; your approach is an elegant reminder of the constructivist nature of learning.

    1. I think I’ll borrow that phrasing if you don’t mind…. a re-do or retake is a remake; very clever and true. I think the real challenge then is changing the seemingly default position we’ve come to accept that we should take every effort to avoid wrong ideas and mistakes.

  3. That iterative process is so important. It’s a process I try to encourage in my class, but one that sometimes really frustrates students. Some are really used to just handing something in and being done with it. The times when it’s been the most successful have been when there is an authentic audience to which we’ll be releasing the final product – that often gives a purpose for continued revision. I continue to struggle with how to bring in more authenticity to all learning activities so it’s not just learning for the sake of learning but instead something more.

    1. I completely agree. The closer a task is to being authentic, with a real and measurable impact outside the classroom or immediate environment, the higher the chances of full buy-in. I often how to try to create these opportunities when we operate in buildings that are, for the most part, isolated and disconnected from the wider community. I sometimes think closer links with community initiatives outside the school system might be the ticket to the type authenticity students are looking for.

  4. I agree that learning should not end when students complete a piece of work. How do we keep that desire to learn/grow and evolve that first piece of work into something more.

    1. I think at least a small part of the answer lies in recording or logging the process and then checking after revisions are made to see the growth. So often students toss away their work after it comes back, and they don’t get the opportunity to see their own growth from a recent frame of reference.

  5. Great post Matthew. I hope that as much as possible the need that too often seems to be there for teachers to move on to the next topic can be replaced with a more cyclical approach – especially with Math!

    1. I find this year that my focus on this process is coming up frequently with Math. It’s one of those subjects where we often move from strand to strand without looking back once; it’s always push forward and cover content.

  6. I must whole heartedly agree with your post – because I have a personal connection. I myself am a student pursuing my M.Ed – I presented a poster to my class last night …. and failed miserably. Feedback was given from the professor and I will be back to the drawing board this weekend for attempt #2. I am most grateful for this opportunity. Learning should never END…it should just keep getting better.

    1. Loved hearing this example from someone else’s personal life outside the classroom. To be honest, part of this learning for me came from the classroom, and the other part came from my own personal learning experiences.

  7. Love your point about learning being cyclical like what we see in design. I can definitely see that in my own practice, even with little explorations like patterning and stop motion animation.
    So happy you joined us tonight!

    1. As always Tina, thank you for connecting me. You have a real knack for this that can’t be overstated.

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