Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Display & Blog Post: William Glasser "We Learn..." Poster

Back in high school, I took private batting lessons to improve my softball swing.  My hitting instructor was one of the best in the business, as he could pinpoint the tiniest details in my swing.  He went beyond the fundamentals, sharing the best techniques and mechanics.  His knowledge for the game was through the roof, but perhaps the most unique thing about him was how he took the mental side of softball to a different level.

Every session, he would say "you only remember 50% of what you see and hear."  At the time, I never understood why he said this.  I figured it was an excuse that would benefit me in case I were to forget something.  When I became a teacher, I finally understood what he meant.

Mr. E, the mustached hitting expert, could have easily shown me how to bat by modeling.  He could have explained everything I needed to do to correct my swing.  He did this to an extent, but solely listening and watching wasn't going to improve my swing.  I had to practice. I had to be the one in the cage swinging the bat.

Practice makes perfect, but Mr. E. didn't want me to just swing my heart out and stop there.  He wanted me to reflect.  After every practice, Mr. E would ask, "What was one thing you did well?" and "What is one thing you need to work on?"  He wanted me to think about my performance so that I could get better.  Could he have told me those answers? Absolutely, but he didn't. He wanted me to gain self-awareness so I could improve on my own.

After I answered his questions, he'd say, "In slow motion, show me how to fix your swing."  I would grip my bat and become conscious of where my elbows tilted.  I aligned my knuckles, and slowly flicked my wrist toward the direction of the imaginary ball, turning my back leg to ignite the little (more like lack of) power I had.  Essentially, I was now teaching him how I should swing.

Mustached Mr. E. might have taken a chapter from psychiatrist Mr. William Glasser, who breaks down how we learn and shows that we learn best when we teach others.  I have taken a page from Mr. E. and Mr. Glasser's book, incorporating their ideas into my own classroom.  I often have my students engage in "whole brain teaching" where they have to "teach" what they learned to somebody. The act of teaching another individual helps them remember the material and concepts.  I also have students reflect using exit tickets, and end-of-the-day questions.

William Glasser's "We Learn" quote is a perfect display for the classroom. Download the "We Learn" poster on TSN's Teachers Pay Teachers page.

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