This is part of a phrase that one of my colleagues mentioned to me sometime ago and it has been floating in my mind ever since. The whole phrase was actually: Learning occurs on a sea a conversation, and I think it totally encapsulates what we should be doing as teachers. It’s really just an extension of the idea that all learning is really social. It is however something that I think I have lost sight of in my desire to push ‘content’ I have lost this, and it is really beginning to bug me. In my mind the ‘sea’ of conversation in my class has not been very open. I am becoming more and more convinced that my students are leaving my class and with a quick brain dump are not long in possession of what I hope that they learn. So I am resolving that I need to bring the conversation back into my social studies class. It’s not like I’ve totally ignored asking questions, it’s just that I think I haven’t done a very good job ensuring that students (all of them) are learning something. I know this seems like such an obvious statement, but I think it boils down a realization that there are things that I can do about this. It especially hurts when I think of the fact that I am teaching one of the most resource rich subjects that exists. I am literally teaching something which pretty much has a direct application from the real world almost every day.
So this means that I am on the hunt for new ways to engage my students in this conversation and also to try and make it more authentic for my students. Of course I have tried to encourage my students to follow the news, and bring questions to class, but as I have mentioned I don’t think this has been effective. This is where the idea of technology as a tool to achieve something great. I want my students to engage in conversations within and outside of the class, but not just with people that they might know, but with people they might meet on Skype, or who would respond to a blog post. It’s time, I no longer want my ‘ocean’ to be closed, I want my sea of conversation to flow easily.