Writing this final post for COETAIL course 1, I am becoming clearer about what to focus on in elementary school guidance lessons.
And that is — “collaboration”. Over the years, I have emphasized “problem solving skills”, and kids have made good use of these skills in resolving friendship issues. When it comes to working and learning well with others, that’s another matter, especially for younger children. Till now, the emphasis has been too much on individuals working alone. During lessons too, it was each child’s relationship with me that matters — a carryover from the counseling situation where the connection between counselor and counseled is primary. Guidance lessons are a different situation, and there I want to foster kids’ connections with each other.
What will I do? I am setting up lessons where kids are given more opportunities to work in groups. This is 7 year olds working in groups where each child feels they have contributed to the process; not where a bossy kid told everyone else what to do, or the smart kid did all the work for the group. I don’t expect them to figure all this out on their own; as a guidance counselor I’ll guide them.
I have always loved learning, and during the past seven weeks my learning curve (slowing of late) has accelerated tremendously. Quite exciting for almost 45! I’ve read more blogs, tweets, and library books than the previous seven years combined — or at least it feels that way. I’ve also blogged, tweeted, and organized Diigo. I’m using way less paper. I’ve collaborated with fellow teachers on a guidance unit, and made connections with different schools in Tokyo and outside of Japan. I am starting to make sense of 21st century learning.
I don’t have all the answers, but as my Chinese ancestors would say:
Ask a question and you’re a fool for three minutes; do not ask a question and you’re a fool for the rest of your life. ~ Chinese Proverb