Productive Learning is a Process

As part of my learning to integrate technology into the literacy classroom, I’m considering the goals for myself and the students.  And as always asking many questions.  Using Will Richardson’s questions from his recent article in Educational Leadership as a springboard, I considered my own:

What do students need to know to be successful in the future?

For which aspect of literacy are we aiming?

What do I want the students to learn?

Do I want a lovely product in the form of a movie?

The tool iMovie?

The process involved in interpretation and representation?

How to share, edit, attribute?

How to take video and photos, edit and organize them?

Elements of storytelling? Benefits of storytelling?

Something else???

Richardson quotes Seymour Sarason from his 2004 book  And What Do YOU Mean by Learning, “productive learning is the learning process which engenders and reinforces wanting to learn more” (p. x).  This might mean, as Richardson puts it, “a transfer of power over learning from teacher to student – it implies that students discover the curriculum rather than have it delivered to them.”  Much like what Dave Cormier calls rhizomatic learning, this implores me to give up control of the steering wheel in the classroom and allow the students and the process to be the driving force.

Now that the students are engaged, I can trust the process.  I can trust that learning will happen and not try to control what that learning may be or how fast it happens.  I can, as Cormier said in his #etmooc session, focus on engagement, effort and connection as well as help students in the process of learning new skills.

The students know they are on a journey, they know some of the steps along the way, they know the general destination, but the path is yet to be determined  It depends on them; their engagement, effort and connection (to others and to previous learning) will determine the extent and depth of their learning and they will determine what they learned through personal reflection throughout the process.  Hopefully they will come to the conclusion that learning can happen by their own will and interest and isn’t just something we do in school for someone else.

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Jiddu Krishnamurti