Courage & deep learning = a magic formula

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

Some months ago, I watched on Netflix Brene Brown’s ‘The call to Courage’. It made me wonder about myself and my life: what I have done, my failures, and the risks I have taken. 

Next year, I will turn 50. Unbelievable but true. I feel empowered and I see myself as a courageous woman. I have learned to take risks and assume their consequences.

Just a simple example, I’m a Peruvian school librarian working in an international school abroad. It’s not common, but I did it because I wanted to learn how other schools understand and put into practice the IB programs at the library. Also, I wanted to learn from the best practices in school librarianship.

Living in Southeast Asia, allowed me to meet people from different countries and backgrounds, and attend meetings in countries like Qatar, Prague or Hong Kong that wouldn’t have been possible before. If I am reborn, I’m sure I will do it again because I shall follow my passion, and I love what I do: school librarianship. 

I don’t want to wake up tomorrow saying: Oh gosh! Why I didn’t do it? Or, what could have happened if would have done this? 

When I watched Brene talk to teachers at Daring classroom, she made me think about our role as educators: who we are is who we show we are in front of our colleges and students? Is it bad to show our vulnerability? Because show our vulnerability will open up who we are. It sounds like a tongue twister but if we want to support our students, we need to show empathy.

I have seen students feeling shame and trying to disappear from their classmates. Others, feeling humiliated by a peer or teacher’s comments. It makes me think about compassion, and how we treat people shows who we are. I genuinely believe that as educators we have to uplift our students. It’s very easy to work with self-motivated students but not everybody wants to take to challenge or the courage to work with those students that need us the most. Nobody knows what those kids are carrying on from their houses. Sometimes, we only know a glimpse. We have to give them confidence, trust, believe and empower them. 

An empower students will reach heaven, will work for his/her goals, and will get marks. If a teacher doesn’t develop empathy with the students and creates fear on them. That person should rethink his/her future as a teacher because it won’t last.

Paulo Freire’s ideas about learning explained by Matthew Kelly connect with the concepts explained by Brene Brown. Both of them center learning in the student and empower them through faith, courage, empathy will uplift them. So, we will see students as active learners developing questions, inquiring and wondering. They are students developing critical thinking and going beyond content.

Giving them a voice: deep learning

Photo by Jakob Boman on Unsplash

“Deeper Learning truly has the ability to redefine what teaching and learning looks like in the 21st-century. It’s time for us to invest in Deeper Learning and designate it as the new normal.”

Monica Martinez

Reading Grace Tattler interviews made me wonder 2 things:

  • Professional development for educators: why is it not working in some places? How can administrators use this platform to empower their staff? 
  • Three key topics to develop deep learning in the class:
    • Students as apprentice (GRASPS)
    • Focus on depth over breadth
    • Give students control (agency)

Why is it so difficult for teachers to control less and empower their students? If teachers only focus on exams and marks, who will develop the students’ skills that promote creativity and innovation?  Monica Martinez summarizes it in 6 points:

I would like to highlight her idea of using ‘Human topics’, it promotes interdisciplinary collaboration as many topics like ecology, poverty, inequality, violence, global warming can cross paths with different subjects.  It connects with people from the community or other countries, let them discover similarities even though the distance. All her strategies are embedded on the PYP Enhance documentation but I wonder if only that documentation is enough to apply deep learning without a proper understanding of the pedagogical side?

Michael Fullan describes how we can accelerate deep learning on this graphic:

This teacher-student partnership with deep learning will use technology as an accelerator of the learning experience. It will give the learner tools to survive out of the school, in the real world.

Reflections from the library:

Librarians have a big challenge supporting deep learning in their schools. They won’t be the main actors but their support is required to succeed. I will point out some ideas:

A librarian should:

  • Collaborate: A librarian should collaborate with teachers. You should plan together in order to fulfill common goals. A librarian wears many hats, and one of them can be coaching. It will improve our relationship with teachers. I will recommend the Podcast: Coach Better by Edurolearning.
  • Empower teachers, empower students: Teachers are the best publicists, train them, collaborate with them. If they will feel empowered, they will empower students. Teachers should find meaningful and useful tools or resources that we have at the library. Otherwise, they won’t use them.
  • Technology and pedagogy savvy: Librarians should work on their professional development to be updated with the latest pedagogical approaches the school is implementing. Besides, connected with the IT policies and future technological implementations of the school.
  • Customize their service according to the needs of teachers and students: We should enhance them with empathy, and understanding of their needs. 
  • Being human: We are working with children and teenagers. Then, our relationship with students should empower them, and understand their needs.

Librarians are not the center of knowledge at the school. Like the role of technology in deep learning, librarians will accelerate learning empowering teachers and students to become independent learners, researchers, and inquirers. 

What do you think?

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