Behind the Blog

Behind the Blog
My name is Cindy Kruse and I've been learning from elementary students for the past 16 years. I enjoy discovering new technology and implementing it in the classroom, absolutely love literacy, and am passionate about Responsive Classroom. I am constantly striving to learn new and innovative ways to teach students in order to provide authentic, interesting, and joyful classrooms.


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Monday, January 31, 2011

Because I'm good at it!

Teaching gifted students, I often spend a few minutes interviewing students in a one on one setting. I usually ask some generic questions just to get to get acquainted. One of the questions I frequently ask is , "What is your favorite subject in school?" Regardless of their answer, I follow up this question with "Why?" It interesting to hear their answers to both questions, but especially the "why".

Yesterday, I was meeting with a new student who said that his favorite subject was math. When I asked him why, he said "Because I'm good at it." Wanting to engage him in more conversation, I asked him, "How do you know you're good at math?" He looked at me incredulously and answered, "Because I like it." Now, you may be thinking that this is a prime example of circular reasoning. However, as I gave this more thought and chatted some more with this student I realized he felt comfortable with math. He enjoyed math. Therefore, he felt "good at it". He didn't offer his test grades or his report card as evidence that he excelled in this area.

It is interesting to see how young minds work. I began thinking of this in the larger context of school/education. Do our students feel comfortable at school? Is school fun? I know some educators that would flat out state - school doesn't have to be fun. In their minds, the learning needs to occur and we just don't have time for "fun". I disagree. There are so many ways to make learning engaging and enjoyable (check out some ideas for activities on the tab "Responsive Classroom" in my blog)!

As educators (both teachers and administrators), we need to keep this in mind. Don't we all yearn to hear our students say, "I love school!" and when asked why, hear them answer, "Because I'm good at it!"

So, what do you feel that you're "Good at?"


Tracy Mercier said...

Cindy, how true! Children, at a young age, are typically unconcerned about grades. They just want to have fun. And believe it or not they do want to learn! It isn't until we adults begin to exert our own perceptions and pressures onto them that they begin to become concerned about grades.

I also love how aware this little guy is about strengths. It may not be in ed lingo that we adults use, but he is keenly aware that is a mathematical mind.

If you are interested in more about grading, Joe Bower's blog For the Love of Learning has many thought provoking posts about it coinciding with intrinsic motivation.

Cindy Kruse said...

Hi Tracy, thanks for sharing Joe's blog. An interesting concept - no grading. We are all so hung up on that. I totally agree that the motivation needs to be intrinsic, so much better all around. It really makes me wonder - How did we (educators) get here? Where did we make a wrong turn, or did we absolutely miss the turn? As someone who has been lost a number of times while driving, I think it's time to stop and ask for a way home ;)