Friday, March 4, 2011

If We Don't Ask They Won't Answer.

I had the pleasure of working with a group of educators recently and we were looking at refining their assessment practice. High schools are often referred to as the last bastions of resistance when it comes to change in education.  That was NOT my experience with this group and we had two days of highly engaged activities and generated lots of great dialogue and quality assessments.

At the end of the first day, I went back with one of the hosts to talk further about the outcomes of day one and plan for the most effective use of day two.  We walked past one of the participants who was sitting outside the main office.  He commented on the day and we left him sitting there.  As we departed later that afternoon, the same individual was still there.  I found that puzzling and commented in jest that it was okay for him to leave unless there was something further I could help with.  He revealed that his car battery was dead (lights left on) and he was hoping for someone to have jumper cables.  My host indicated that she had some and plans were quickly made to jump start his car. This took all of two minutes to get him on his way.

As we left my colleague remarked that it was a good thing I asked the question or he may have been there for quite some time.  That got me thinking about the kids we teach.  Are there times when a little boost is all they need to get back on track? When the information available to you indicates something is amiss do you probe to find out more? Is learning stalled while you have the capacity to get it moving in the right direction?

The next time you see a student hovering outside your class, make the first move.  Ask a question and let the learning exchange begin.

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