It is summertime which means that I have the freedom from my daily teaching routine to catch up on home chores, read, eat or play for however long I want or until my seven year old daughter takes over and tells me what to do. Since June we have read at least a dozen stories together. My husband and I have helped her learn to bike, to ride horses and to swim without a life jacket. We are learning without any constraints on time and without any goals except overcoming her fears of taking risks.
Intentional Learning is a theme that my summer research in literacy has exposed. Parents, community members, teachers all spend a great amount of time trying to do or learn something well. We go through stages of risk taking, exploration and then revisions for proficiency. Parenting has taught me that I have very little control of predicted outcomes. Children respond to language, routines and opportunities differently. This is what makes education a unique field in that there are many ideologies, many demands and many exceptions to rules. However, I believe that when we simplify our focus and clarify our purpose for everyone involved, we have more opportunities for successes. Biking and swimming did not happen for my daughter because of our parenting alone. It happened because we purposefully chose to involve our friends and neighbors in this experience.
Intentional learning is
- teaching with a purpose, assessing only that purpose and allowing students more freedoms and responsibilities for the goals they choose to meet. (Kohl,2003) (Epelbaum, 2007).
- sharing educational practices in a language that parents and community members can understand. (Delpit, 2002)
- keeping education simple enough for parents to model in the home. More modelling provides more opportunity for exposure to skills that help students succeed. (Olsen, 2012)
- setting up common routines, common assessments to mark progress, but allowing for self expression, creativity and design. (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006) (Purcell-Gates, 2002)
- using many supports in a community of learners but being able to develop independently.
- Discuss, question, argue and laugh about our learning, accept more than one right answer.
- Defend a child’s sense of wonder- defeat raises the stakes of what is acceptable to an impossibly high level.” (Witte-Townsend, &DiGiulio, 2004)