|My incredible presenting partners and I with Lilian Katz!|
Key Message #1 - Academic or Intellect?
"Teaching is helping the learner to understand what they already know better...more deeply"
Lilian reflected on the use of language and the different definitions that exist in language for the same word. She discussed the difference between academic and intellect. I added some of the definitions found on dictionary.com for the words.
academic - "not practical, realistic, or directly useful" "learned or scholarly but lacking in worldliness, common sense, or practicality"
intellect - "capacity for thinking and aquiring knowledge" "a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge"
Lilian reflected that academic and intellectual skills both have a place and a role in the classroom. Intellect refers to "asking questions, making predictions" and "trying to make sense of the world by theorizing, synthesizing, and examining cause and effect relationships".
Key Message #2: All children have experiences...they just look different!
I have heard many educators say "my children do not have any experiences to draw on". Lilian gave an example of an inner city school where the educators shared with her that their children didn't have any "experiences". What about FOOD? All children have experiences with food.
ALL children have multiple "experiences" in their life - how they look and what they are depends a lot on their surroundings, home life, and community.
While investigating experiences and interests with children...
"Don't ask children, what is your favourite food?" - this is too self centred for them to respond to.
Instead, try..."What are some foods that you don't like? What is it that you don't like about them?"
Their responses and thinking has much more depth when we ask the right questions.
Key Message #3: Dispositions - some are inborn, some are built
Dispositions are difficult to define - Katz explained a definition may be "habits of mind with intentions as motivates".
-Having reading skills and having the disposition to read are two very different things.
-Feelings are dispositions (some are inborn - fear, anxiety, joy)
-Confidence is a feeling that is "learned from experience"
-children have to learn confidence (through opportunities to overcome difficulties)
-self esteem and confidence are NOT built from flattery or empty praise
-dispositions cannot come from "direct instruction" - (e.g., be generous)
-dispositions are be modeled, observed
The disposition to go on learning is a HUGE GOAL. To master knoweldge requires an interactive process such as "having discussions and arguments". How do we provide opportunities for these things in our classrooms?
Stay tuned for more reflections on Lilian Katz and how her teaching is connected to my learning in the classroom (I would like to post on "How we use language in our classrooms" and "Project Approach to Teaching: Our Dance Inquiry" and a bit of a reflection on our workshop "Emergent Curriculum meets Ontario Standards"). My head is so full of knowledge and I am feeling overwhelmingly inspired after this weekend - so I hope that my thoughts are clear!