A Message from the LFKS President
As I reflect about our Annual Learning Forward Conference, the word that comes to me is deliberate. Robin Fogarty was our keynote speaker. Her most recent book is, “Unlocking Student Talent: The Science of Developing Expertise”. Robin’s message for us was how to produce students who are independent learners and are prepared to acquire whatever skills are needed for their future. We can do this by empowering students to fly. As teachers, we need to spark their curiosity, hook them, ask questions, allow them to investigate, validate their work, and require justification and application. Teachers need to be deliberate about coaching students through encouragement, instruction, empowerment and inspiration. Robin says, “talent is made, not born”.
Robin asked us to think about a person or persons who have “coached” us or helped shape us into who we are today. As I reflect on the mentors in my life, they have supported me in different ways. I could quickly write down key people in my life who have provided me with unconditional love, support, challenged me, encouraged me, were honest and gave me guidance. As teachers, we need to be deliberate in providing these supports to our students.
Robin used a term called “student agency.” This is about the student being the “agent” in the classroom rather than the teacher. Instead of the teacher lecturing and doing all the work the student is making, creating, doing, sharing, collaborating, and publishing in ways that are meaningful to them. The teacher takes the role as the facilitator or “coach”. Teachers have to be deliberate about helping students develop and hone the active and self-directed learning skills that are required. We no longer need to create the compliant and passive factory workers of the past. We have to give students agency in their education now if we want to unlock their potential for the future.
Robin shared with us the Under Armour commercial featuring Misty Copeland titled, “I Will What I Want!” It has a powerful message. You may view the commercial at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3KZKrQVo1A
I will leave you with another short video by Under Armour titled, “Will Finds a Way” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sha5XB3NpI
Let’s be deliberate in how we teach students to find the will to want and the will to find their way.
Jo McFadden, President
Learning Forward Kansas