I’ve been on the road the last five days, crossed three time zones, and had innumerable conversations with educators of all stripes.
As it sit in the Minneapolis airport, waiting for my flight to board, this feels like the right time to start to reflect on the slam of excellent idea exchanges I’ve had the good fortune to experience over the last several days.
My handy dandy notebook is full of seeds of posts, so I’m expecting this space to be informed by those seeds for the next few entries. I hope you’ll join in my reflection and participate in the conversation. My understanding is always more fully formed when informed by the voices of others.
What strikes me now, though, is the difficulty I’ve had in the last few evenings trying to get my thinking out as I experience things.
More than once, I’ve sat down with the intention of capturing at least a piece of the day’s thinking, only to be confounded by the notion that I was still in the experience, still living the things about which I wanted to write.
The will was there, and the head space was lacking.
Each time, I started to wonder about how this feeling is embodied in the experiences of students across our learning spaces each day.
A math student is cold called amid a lesson to explain his thinking and freezes because his grain was busy buffering the new material and constructing the connections to what he’d learned previously.
The history student finds herself up against a deadline to write a reflective blog post about her work curating primary sources for a display to be experienced by younger students only to find that she’s more consumed with determining how best to achieve flow in the presentation than she is able to coherently spew her thoughts online for others to read.
In the same way that learning must happen in its own time and students must have the space to connect ideas and build artifacts of learning, we must remember that the artifacts of reflection (the metacognitive learning) must also come at its own space.
I will need a few days to process some of the more powerful conversations of the last week. Some require distance of time and space before they can be externalized.
This I will take with me as I help others in their learning. In the classroom, a frequent practice is to ask students to reflect on their learning immediately after a project has been completed or an assignment has been submitted.
Beginning reflection, I’m understanding, required more distance than our immediate or arbitrary classroom deadlines often allow.