One of my mentors used to say that children are creative because they do not believe in “impossible”; that teenagers were charged with hormones to shake up adults, in the hope that they (adults) remember their journey. I reflect on this idea quite frequently, and while I never aim at proving whether it’s correct, my reflection has always help me enhance my empathy skills for the students I teach.
In an MYP PD session, teachers were involved in an activity that required them to image they were MYP students who had the experience and knowledge they have at present. They were tasked with thinking of questions they would ask their classmates to discuss “the enjoyment of learning”.
Below is a series of selected questions that were used in our interactions. I invite you to think of your MYP environment and think of an answer for those questions. I am wondering what they would make you reflect on about your classes, or your learning environment.
- Would you like to design a lesson as a teacher for other students? Which subject? How?
- What makes the [X] class so much fun?
- Do you still find time for learning or are you just having fun?
- Are you able to stay engaged in your classes or do you find yourself drifting often?
- What is the class the most fun?
- What is your favorite class? Do you think it’s because of the teacher, or just the content? Why?
- Have you ever been asked to make something that you will use?
- Do you feel you need teaches? Classmates?
- What would make you excited to get up in the morning?
- What experiment was your favorite?
- What reading motivated you to give your personal point of view?
- What’s the most fun lesson for you?
- What’s been the nicest project you’ve done?
- When do you learn best?
- What do teachers do that upset you?
- What do teachers do that helps you to work effectively?
- Do you know what Mr/Ms ____ enjoys doing?
- Why would you speak to Mr / Ms ____?
- What was your favorite unit this semester? (In any subject)
What was your favorite lesson this week? (In any subject)
- Which teachers make learning fun? How?
- Why do you think our teachers do not let us design our own projects?
- Does your teachers provide many different examples to help you understand?
- In what interesting ways have you reviewed for a test?
- Do you enjoy exploratory learning activities?
The beauty of teaching in the MYP is the opportunity we have to witness students’ transformation from grade 6 when they are 11 years old, to grade 10 when they may turn 16. I consider it a gift to see how ideas and experiences transform students (and me, in this process); I consider it an opportunity to stay connected with the “current world”; I regard it as a constant call that will remind me not to claim that “I know because I have been doing this for nearly 20 years”, but because I am able to connect meaningfully with my students.
When teaching teenagers, it’s not difficult to believe that we are learning alongside a new person each year, and that by teaching them for 2 or more years in a row we are able to observe the power of relationships and modelling. What I value most about this experience, though, is the opportunity I have to blend thoughts and time, in order to create an amalgam of life that encourages me to remain a learner…. always.