Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Suspend Judgment and Enable Curiosity

Elementary school teachers are the ultimate action researchers.  They constantly monitor the subjects in their laboratories for optimum learning, then tweak or change variables when needed.  They also find times when they need to seek the opinion of a fellow researcher, so they ask another teacher for ideas that might address a specific barrier to a child's learning.

Some of the most important conversations that teachers have are to answer the question, "What do we do for the kids who struggle to learn this?"

After many years of involvement with these discussions, I have seen a wide range of responses to the ideas that get thrown on the table in efforts to help struggling students.  Most of the time, teachers are willing to listen to as many strategies as possible, then choose one or two.  Naturally, the strategies that are typically chosen are the ones that feel most comfortable to each teacher.  Each teacher chooses the ones that seems most doable.  If three teachers hear fifteen different ideas, they may choose three completely different strategies, based on their own personal preference.

This has me wondering...when we hear ideas during a brainstorming session, do we make our judgments immediately?  As the ideas hit the table, do our experiences cause us to keep or discard ideas too quickly?  When brainstorming, what if we were better able to suspend judgment and enable curiosity?