"The greatest sign of success for a teacher. . . is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.'" Maria Montessori
Many times when we engage in integrated learning, blended learning and/or project-based learning our focus can be solely on melding curriculum. For instance, we read a lot of articles related to the NGSS standards and the Common Core that suggest explicitly how to bundle math, writing and reading with science or social studies. Some clear advantages of bundling curriculum is it can consolidate a teacher’s time and improve student learning by diving deeper into multiple facets of learning. As we work more with students on design tech projects, we realize that the skill base we’re really interested in developing centers around fostering attributes that will help our students become fully actualized adults. Resourcefulness, empathy, curiosity and self-awareness are high on our list of qualities we stretch for when lesson planning since many of the other attributes are by design more accessible.
Recently we read an article by Dr. Price-Mitchell on her work called “8 Pathways to Student’s Success.” Dr. Price-Mitchell’s work interests us greatly as she fully defines and explains eight ability areas that support children in navigating successfully through school and life. OMG, those two do go together!
This work by Dr. Price-Mitchell is exciting for several reasons. First, it validates our thinking that learning needs to be personalized and reach deeper than curriculum. Second, it gives a focus to our planning: do our classroom and learning experiences offer opportunities and support children to grow in all these ways? Finally, it gives us eight specific lenses for looking at our students and how we can support their learning journey.
When students work as if the teacher “doesn’t exist”, it means that they are fully engaged and drive their own learning experience. In order to do this, they must be made aware of how social-emotional components impact their ability to be effective thinkers and problem-solvers, particularly when collaborating with others. As more waves of research examine how teaching must address the whole child, we have more tools to improve our craft. More information about Dr.Price-Mitchell’s work can be found at this link: Roots of Action.