A Journey Through Technology

Week 7: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

on October 21, 2016

In his book Explore Like a Pirate, Matera (2015) shares his experiences with the gamification of his classroom and how it has impacted the learning of his students. “The more I gamified my course, the more I saw a need to change the language of learning.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle Location 608) As we move towards the “New World” of learning which we discussed a few weeks ago, there needs to be a change in the language that we use with our students in the classroom. By language, I don’t mean English vs. Spanish, or using proper grammar, but the types of words we use to describe the way our students should be learning in the classroom. This language of learning is a common theme for many educators today.

In the foreword to her book The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, and Speaking SkillsMargaret Berry Wilson says “We may, at times, assume that students will somehow access and naturally develop fluency in the language of learning and therefore won’t need us to name it, much less teach it.” (Wilson, 2014) She goes on to say that students do not automatically know this language and that teachers need to be deliberate about teaching this language to their students.

Adam Moreno asks the question, “What do you want your students to learn in your classroom?” (Moreno, 2015) He talks about not remembering much of anything about content from his K-12 education, but has solid memory of “the resilience needed to build a marble rollercoaster and a Popsicle stick bridge in Physics. I recall the confidence needed to get up in front of the entire high school to give my Student Council election speech.” He does not discount the importance of content, but instead suggests that content should not be the main purpose of education. Through his “Keys of Purpose Driven Learning”, Moreno describes “skills that will help our students succeed in our classrooms, will support them throughout their schooling, and will last long after they have graduated!”

Purpose Driven Learning encompasses ten qualities of successful people applied to education. These ten qualities are: Confidence, Creativity, Enthusiasm, Effort, Focus, Resilience, Initiative, Curiosity, Dependability, and Empathy. (Moreno, 2015) By putting emphasis on these traits in the classroom, we can shift the focus of learning from just content to helping our students become successful far beyond the reaches of our classroom. Matera mentions posting the ten traits of Purpose Driven Learning in his classroom and refers to them daily, in a variety of applications. (Matera, 2015, Kindle Location 631)

I want to make the ten traits of Purpose Driven Learning a main focus of my class to help my students embrace the student-centered nature of a gamified classroom. If we want students to accept a new way of learning, then we need to teach them the language of that learning. We can’t expect students to automatically know the learning language that we, as teachers, are just becoming more comfortable with. If students can be exposed to this new language by a variety of their teachers, we can enact a shift towards a better learning environment for all of our students, that they will become more comfortable with each new school year.

References

Matera, M. (2015). Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design [Kindle Edition (Locations 615, )].

Moreno, A. (2015, February 3). Purpose Driven Learning — Adam Moreno. Retrieved October 20, 2016, from http://www.mrmoreno.com/blog/purpose-driven-learning

Wilson, M. B. (2014, March 4). The Language of Learning (Foreword) | Responsive Classroom. Retrieved October 20, 2016, from https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/the-language-of-learning-foreword/

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5 responses to “Week 7: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

  1. unicyclepro says:

    What I think is interesting after reading Matera’s chapter is that I believe there is a proportion of students that are in k-12 that do have these characteristics to be successful. How did they learn these traits? I don’t know. I suppose you can try to teach them by using the language described in the text. It’s innate for some people to have these traits, but it can be very difficult for those that don’t have them to begin with. I have students currently that just want to fail, and are vocal about not wanting to try. Even after discussions, sharing, and pleading, they don’t want to change how they are. How to you change that mindset? That is one my frustrations about teaching. I want to be there for students, but when they are not there for themselves, there’s not much you can do. As a high school teacher, I am teaching students that have been in the “system” for at least 9 years. Can I really “change” their mindset after so much time? I don’t know, but I will still try…

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    • aletakmay says:

      Gerald,

      One of the problems with our high school system is that after missing 10 days, they cannot get credit. That alone affects some students. They come to school, and seem to have no academic direction. What are their options then? But, like you, I try in my role as an educator to reach them all one way or another. . .

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      • unicyclepro says:

        You know, during my Education Administration degree program, we were told that there has been no legal precedence to uphold the decision of a school district giving no credit to students with absenteeism problems. In other words, if students can show that they can perform, achieve, and be successful with the number of absences on their record, there should be no reason to deny credit. I would have your admin look into this problem, cause it does affect a proportion of students in our system.

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  2. tmerculief says:

    Sarah- I think these are great qualities: Confidence, Creativity, Enthusiasm, Effort, Focus, Resilience, Initiative, Curiosity, Dependability, and Empathy. I also believe that putting emphasis on these traits in the classroom, we can shift the focus of learning to beyond the classroom. This is so very true what you say here, “If we want students to accept a new way of learning, then we need to teach them the language of that learning. We can’t expect students to automatically know the learning language that we, as teachers, are just becoming more comfortable with.”Great post!

    Like

  3. stimey83 says:

    After reading your post I have decided that i am going to post the ten qualities in my classroom. Not only will it give me a reference for how the experiences should go in the classroom, but it will also be a place for my students to check on me and make sure that I am giving them enough opportunities to develop these ten traits.

    Liked by 1 person

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