Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reading for the Summer - "Developing More Curious Minds"

I started Developing More Curious Minds by John Barell at the end of June, and had to put it away for a while, but I'm back at it now.  Although I agree with the principles of the book - the importance of developing curious minds in students, which in turn lead to more learning.
I loved the Study Guide that comes with the book from ASCD. The questions are thought provoking, and give you actual ideas to do with students.  Asking students to write letters to the next year students, and consider what the students would write about.The entire idea is to consider how to change the school culture to make students question everything, to make a school of inquiry.  So what would you do?  What elements of your school culture would you like to work on and why?
  • Setting high expectations
  • Teacher modeling
  • Sharing our stories
  • Developing positive scripts
  • Asking questions and getting responses
  • Creating assignments and assessments
  • Improving the quality of peer interaction
And in our school we have another area that many of the teachers wish to work on - developing engaged students.  This book talks about engaging the students, getting them to ask their own questions of inquiry, thus being engaged in their learning.One problem I had with this book is the fact that the author continuously talks about the power structure of the school and the teacher in particular, stating the teacher does not want questions in the classroom.  Yet I always tell my students "There is no such thing as a stupid question" and all questions are welcomed.  I am a little offended that a summarization of all teachers is through a major part of this book.  Remember, we are told (and rightly so) that all students are different and to treat them this way, please remember that teachers are the same.    

So here we start a new year, and after reading "Developing More Curious Minds" I am entering a new style of teaching to see if I can get students more engaged, more positive about learning and more excited about developing their minds....  Wish me luck.