One thing we emphasize and focus on is critical thinking and problem solving. I am a firm believer that our kids are capable of much more than society expects of them. In light of this, we challenge them each day to think critically before they ask us as teachers or guides a question. Each day, our students are challenged to find out answers on their own first. Before they can approach us with a question, they have to exhaust 3 of the 4 Bs. What are the 4 Bs? I wish you could hear one of our teammates answer that. Our students are challenged to use their Brain, the Board, a Buddy or Blink (a combination of a book or a link they can access via their chromebook). Once they have tried three of the four options, they may ask us as guides a question. For example, when a student wonders what time lunch will be, we respond with, "How do you think you can find out what time lunch will be?" The agenda for each day is posted in two places for students to easily see. I haven't been asked what time lunch will be in 4 weeks.
When we think of setting our students up to succeed, we value the process. The process of learning to think independently, to think critically and to problem solve takes time and repetition. Patience. Does this work? Do students this age really grasp the concept? Is this really important to the classroom?
Yes. Most definitely. Watching the sense of accomplishment that a student feels when they have solved a problem on their own is worth the struggle to get there. Is it easier for us to give them the answer? Absolutely. But is that setting our students up to reach their full potential? This is the time when they are shaped to grow and learn practices that they can take with them long past their time with us, or any other school. These are skills that guide them to be strong leaders, entrepreneurs, collaborators, heroes.
Ideally, our students will work us as guides out of the classroom. As we take the focus off the studio off of teachers and back on students, they need to feel that ownership. We need to support them as they realize that, and we need to trust them to get there.
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