Teaching Our Kids to Be Self Reliant
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Subject area: Multi
One of the biggest things students learn to do in school is face challenges. This doesn’t always mean diving into the most rigorous curriculum. Sometimes it’s learning how to contribute to the classroom community in their own meaningful way.
Everyday I look for ways to help establish my students’ autonomy. Giving students time to play with technology increases their knowledge and experience. I often tell them there is more than one correct way to do something. I’ve taught them certain keyboard shortcuts for example and some students use them and others go about things using a different strategy. I want them to be successful and feel comfortable making choices for themselves. Each student uses an iPad in my classroom as well as a desktop. Students take charge of passing out and collecting the iPads as well as making sure they are all charging when we’re done using them. Not only does this help me save time and energy, it lets them show their autonomy with technology. I’ve noticed that as the year goes on, students are figuring out how to use technology not only from me, but also from their peers and play. Students go from depending on me for an answer to finding out solutions on their own.
Students need to feel valued and successful so another way I facilitate that is asking them for help. The best part is that I do need their help! The classroom is not a one person show and needs many active contributors all the times. All I say is, “I really need your help with something” and they instantly rise to the occasion. They love being problem solvers and feel accomplished and useful to the classroom community. Trust plays a big role. The ability as a teacher to walk away and trust that my students will figure out a solution in their own way is critical. There’s a big difference between guiding kids toward their goals and hovering over them and “saving” them from mistakes. When I don’t jump in and show them my way to do something because it may be faster or better, I’m telling them that they have my trust, I believe in them, and they are capable.
If they are doubtful about how to tackle a challenge, I’ll start by saying, “lets work together first and find a solution”. I try to project confidence even during uncertainties. I model my mistakes and problem solving skills aloud. I take my internal dialogue and make it visible for students. Then I let go and let them try things out on their own. I’m finding that I’m not running to the sides of students nonstop. They are capable of learning about technology in their own ways and when I see them finding solutions without having to do something for them, it makes us all feel successful. Learning how to use technology is a just a first step for students and the next will be creating their own place in digital society and contributing their own creations.