Posted on July 8, 2012
Before any of the blogs you read on the elementary page are published, I review blogs, do a bit of editing, and post them here for the world to read. It struck me as I was reading this week's set of blogs, which I hope you'll select a few and enjoy, that there is an expectation about products of learning as evidence of learning. This aspect of learning is likely more evident and perhaps, more expected, during a brief five-week summer program. Here are some products of learning created or performed by students in various summer sessions:
All very intriguing and delightful outcomes of student learning. But I'd like to propose this idea: process IS a product or outcome of learning. We often dichotomize learning into process and product, an Industrial Revolution way of thinking, that learning must somehow end up with something or somewhere, otherwise, the learning is for naught. Learning has become commodified, from a natural human behavior into a product with a time stamp. Preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, college and diplomas along the way to certify that learning has indeed taken place. We hear the term "lifelong learning" often in order to revise our ways of thinking about learning, which is why process is essential and perhaps the most important aspect of learning. The all-important processes of learning that occur in the classroom are often hidden from view or overlooked in the grand scheme of learning. Lifelong learning is a process we hope all of our students, including ourselves, aspire to experience.
As you look at these images of learning products created by our summer school students,
ask these questions:
How was it imagined?
What questions did the learner raise?
How did the learner find answers?
Did the learner work alone or with others?
How did others contribute to the learning?
What challenges did the learner encounter?
How did the learner overcome these challenges?
Was the learner inspired along the way?
How did the learner feel about the learning?
During this intensified summer program, our students' learning processes are given primary attention. The products that may happen to come home or are performed are but one aspect of their learning. Look instead for the ways in which your children are processing experiences, new ideas, new contexts. Pay attention to the process. This is the heart of learning.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey