Allanah King, in her blog Life is not a race to be first finished, shared an idea. It’s a really simple idea, and also a really powerful one – and you’d be amazed at how such a simple idea can be overlooked by teachers in the heady rush of the start of a new school year. It is this: ask each student to list five things that their new teacher needs to know about them.
If I was a student, I would write:
- I like to fidget and doodle to help me concentrate
- Pictures, diagrams and visual representations of ideas work much better for me than a bunch of text.
- I love being involved in questions that I can apply to my own life and work.
- Let me be creative – if I can switch the way I show what I know around, and if there’s room to do something a bit differently, that’s great.
- I’m a geek – let me stay in the digital world while I learn.
And I bet I’m not alone.
For any teacher, knowing their learners can be formidable – but if we don’t know who they are, what they bring, what lights their lamps or shuts them down, how can we help them to shine?