Personal Learning Advocates Have The Power To Inspire
Special education teacher faces his very own “personal learning advocate.”
Everyone has a little bit of a weakness, right? Everyone takes a little edge when things get a little too overwhelming. Everyone, right? Because we’re all human, so we’re not all supposed to behave like geniuses all the time. But, to be honest, it’s a lot more relaxing when things don’t interfere with our happiness — especially when that happiness entails something we can relate to. Like, say, sitting on your back porch with a grandparent and making cookies, right?
While that’s not too far-fetched (okay, not too far-fetched at all), real-life learning actually affects people in a whole different way and involves a whole lot more than the type of cookies you’re making. So, it makes sense to think about a way for schools to encourage teachers to spend some extra time encouraging students to pursue their passions and collaborate with others on a deeper level.
Introducing a personal learning advocate, an employee who will help schools facilitate student learning by speaking to them and other people in the school on how to better support them. This will be made up of teachers, but it’s a necessary component that can’t be ignored — especially as more and more people are becoming aware of the effects an education loss can have on a student.
If a teacher has time to spend with a student in this way, and ideally shares what he or she has learned from students, is it possible that there will be less stress for both parties? Is it possible that we’ll learn to encourage ourselves and each other more often?
The idea is to set up a system where school leaders can champion teachers to give more time to their students, in an effort to make the classroom less overwhelming and more realistic and effective. While that sounds effective in theory, it will be a chance for teachers to speak directly to school administration about their own shortcomings. The concerns of the teacher themselves will be heard and acknowledged. And, because they’re the ones who are responsible for teaching their classroom, their suggestions will reflect the education they have given their students.
There are a few things these advocates will no doubt say that must be followed up on — particularly for those teachers who need to deal with very difficult students. For example, it’s important to remember the students’ interests, talents, and hobbies, and to incorporate them into a lesson plan. Some students are actually super talented at this, while others aren’t. To show a student who is not as talented in a class exercise, the personal learning advocate can reach out to the teacher to get his or her needs met.
This would be a great example of how best to make time to give a teacher advice. Imagine that the teacher is struggling to teach his students fractions. In other classrooms, the personal learning advocate would reach out to the teachers to get their opinions, and get them to look into how they can make the lessons more engaging. This is something that will work in any circumstance, whether it be with a kid who has already struggled, or one whose learning has picked up, and again, the power in the hands of the personal learning advocate is what makes it a realistic scenario that can help the education of our school, our students, and our society.
And with more support in the classroom, we are all much more likely to do things the right way. We might never have the desire to reinvent the wheel, but if we have the time to go beyond the initial thought, we can be more creative. We can broaden our horizons and explore new ideas. I for one have never heard of the best chili in the world, and that’s not entirely due to its being one-dimensional. But for a student, rather than just learning how to make one kind of soup or chili, maybe he or she might learn how to create it in a way that has a chance to please not only yourself, but also the others in the class. And that is inspiring.
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