Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!

The older I get, the more I realize how little I know!  It's exciting and frustrating at the same time that I still have so much to learn.  When I do learn something new, sometimes my opinion might change on a certain topic.  For example, I might be extremely excited about a new way of teaching reading. After trying this new way or learning that it could hurt children, my opinion would change.  But it would be something new that I would learn.

I've noticed that when students think they know everything about a topic, they talk over me or they quit listening.  I have to convince them with my skills and a little bit of my charm that there is so much more to learn.  They have to just trust me and keep listening.

The exact same thing is happening in our world today.  People think they already know about a topic and they've formed their opinions.  People shut off all listening to other sides, other reports, other ways of looking at things, other viewpoints, even new evidence that could truly change a person's way of thinking.  When we stop listening, we stop learning.  When we stop learning, we stop growing.  

When Pluto was no longer considered a planet, you can bet that it was hard for me to change Many Very Elegant Men Jumped Straight Up Near Pluto to My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nachos.  (If you use mnemonic devices, you feel my pain.)  It changed an entire chapter in the science book.  Honestly I wanted to keep teaching Pluto as a planet and pretend I didn't know the new information.  But that's not the way life works!  New information means we sometimes have to alter our ways of teaching.  It also got my students to pay more attention to news about space and now every time Pluto is in the news, we get to revisit that lesson.  I learn right along with them.  Students know that I don't know everything about everything and sometimes information changes.  

In this fast-paced, information spewing society we live in we have to teach our kids that it's okay to research a topic completely before forming an opinion.  It's also okay to not post every thought we have on social media.  It's perfectly fine to change our minds about something when we realize we might be wrong about something.  We have to teach them that in this ever-changing world, we can slow down and find the correct information.  Read, listen, and learn.

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