Letting Them Go

I have been doing a lot of  thinking around what Adora Svitak says in the TED talk;

I believe I let the students in my class make their own decisions and I have always tried to let them go and see what happens in their learning. After watching and listening to Adora and how we need to learn from kids. Kids do have amazing dreams and aspirations, and why do we as adults try to bring down their expectations? I started reflecting and questioning my lessons for the week. I wanted to see if there were areas where I need to let go and allow the students to go and learn.

I wanted to see if I could trust all of them to go and explore what they wanted to do for a project they were assigned. I had created this project a few years ago, but I wanted it to be different, I did not want them working on it at home. In other words I really wanted them to take charge of their learning and project themselves, without adult intervention.

I decided to book large amounts of time in the library so they had space and resources to explore and create how they wanted to. I sat back and watched them in action, and I was blown away. All the students were on task, creating and collaborating, helping one another, proving Adora correct. “We need to create opportunities for children to grow up and blow us away. We need to expect more from them.”  I know have in my head when planning assignments and lessons that I need to expect more from the students. As Adora states, “when expectations are low, trust me we will sink to them.”  As I have seen this week this includes all learners in the classroom, ALL!

I did show Adora’s talk to the class, and I was amazed at how they all took it in. They had some great discussions around it, and many felt that they were given choice in our classroom. I then asked them, why do you ask to go to the washroom or to get a drink, or is this enough writing, or is this okay… They all had a little light bulb go off! I loved it. So now when they ask me those silly questions I ask them what do they think?

One last note on Adora’s talk and its affects on me and the students; we have had a lot of snow fall over the last week. The principal keeps changing rules about sledding and the students are getting frustrated. I was in our classroom getting ready to go to a Pro-D event when a student came into to the room, he did not see me, and was explaining to the other students that our principal needs to listen to Adora, when she said “adults need to listen and put in kids ideas and thoughts when it comes to making rules,” the student added that we do know to be careful but changing the rules constantly creates confusion and it is just not fair.


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