Andrew Stanton’s line, “The greatest story commandment is: Make me care.” stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it almost a year ago.
I was on my way to working with a couple of teachers in another area of Quebec and had a long drive ahead of me, so I plugged in my phone and listened to a podcast I had been saving for just such an opportunity – from NPRs TED Radio Hour, Framing the Story. Listen to it to hear what Andrew says about storytelling.
Grant Wiggins writes:
…a course must seem coherent and meaningful from the learner’s perspective. There must be a narrative, if you will; there must be a throughline; there must be engaging and stimulating inquiries and performances that provide direction, priorities, and incentives. (What is a course?)
This is true at any level, in any industry. Whether working with students or professionals – learning will happen, learning will be meaningful – when I care about the story you have to tell and can fold it into my own.
Make me care – say all learners to all teachers.
When they are skipping class, doing the minimum to pass, avoiding work, avoiding professional development opportunities – somehow we have not made our material something they care about. Sometimes it is beyond our control – other stories in their lives have prominence.
For me, I strive to make you care about what I have to teach.
The truth about stories are that that’s what we are ~ Thomas King
(Oh – and to my students – you don’t need to make me care. I already do.)
The other night, while so much of the world was busy counting medals a man was not convicted of murder for killing a 17-yr old boy who was listening to loud music in his car with his friends in front of a convenience store in Florida.
That boy could have been any one of my students.
Jordan Davis could have been my son. He could have been yours.
What angers me so much was that this was not a tragic accident.
His 47 year old killer shot 10 shots at a parked car because he felt threatened by the boys who were listening to loud “thug” music inside.
Yeah. And a jury could not reach a verdict. They could not unanimously decide that when a white man shoots a black teenaged boy that it is murder.
Think about this and be angry. And be sad. (If you are a teacher or in any other position of influence, I hope you do more than just think)
Be Angry. Be Sad. The sadness keeps us human and connected. The anger may drive that sadness to do something.
(Just don’t play any loud music on that drive. Especially not if you are a young man of colour.)
Nurturing the human piece. Therein lies the magical rub.
The following are some lines to reflect on from: Experts: Here’s how to turn data into achievement by Dennis Pierce
“Data is about infusing classrooms with information that changes the trajectory of learning,”
“…struggled to get teachers on board with using data to inform instruction. “How can we overcome this fear?”
Changing the culture of a school system requires “a nurturance of teacher leadership,” Edwards said. He added: “If you can lift, you can push—but you have to lift first.”
…such fears are a natural reaction to the use of student data “as a political device to hold people accountable” for doing their jobs.
“We need to change the conversation from data as a hammer to data as a flashlight,” or a tool that can be used “to shine a light on what’s working” in schools.
Data in itself is just…data. It’s how it is used and trusted that can make it magical.
Finding data is pretty easy. Collating it as well. But once we get it, how do we make sure it used to make things better for our students and teachers?
The how brings us back to our core – the human element.
Why do we care about the data we collect about our schools, our teachers, and our learners?
(by the way – I love this line from the article –> If you can lift, you can push. But you have to lift first.)
Blogging is not about making journaling fun for students.
It’s not about trying to find a reason for students to spell correctly.
It’s not even about connecting them to global others.
I can think of no more horrible an exercise than forcing all of the students in my class to create a blog for the sake of writing online what could be written in a journal. For the sake of trying to trick them into writing with the flashy, shiny technology as if they won’t know that really all they are doing is writing on a computer (I did it about 5 or 10 years ago, so I know of what I speak).
If blogging is a something (and I think it is) then it’s about having a passion to share. It’s about loving something so much you want to write, talk, show – create – about it. It’s about having a story to tell. It’s about having a voice.
Inherent in my job as a teacher is showing my students to their voice. For some, blogging could be a good vehicle for that trip.
The secret for me is to get them to that voice in a way that makes sense for them.
How do I use myself as a motivating instigator with those I teach?
How do I provide effective feedback to those I teach?
How do I recognize the feedback I receive from those I teach, from my colleagues, from other professionals?
How do I mobilize technology when I teach, motivate, and provide or receive feedback?
Essentially, I need to create situations where these questions are present, in the foreground. Situations where these questions create a framework for learning.
This week, I am examining the creation of Personalized Systems of Instruction (PSI) and specifically how Wix, Weebly, CamStudio, MERLOT, and Hot Potatoes could facilitate learning situations based on PSI (see here how PSI is used by Rocco Iafigliola in a Quebec CollegePhysics classroom).
Those questions will remain at the front line while I test out each of those resources. In the meantime, I have sent out a tweet for user experience…
…to be continued :)