Oskar Cymerman | @CrushSchoolSpy Featured Blogger
Oskar is a Science, Engineering, and Learning How to Learn teacher and an author of the Crush School Book Series.
His professional interests are brain-based teaching and learning, flexible seating (#StarbucksMyRoom founder), social-emotional learning, social justice, and using technology to enhance learning.
He is also a fan of the Jedi order (and uses DA FORCE frequently), ninjas, and the superhero in all of us. He is on a Quest to Change the World because he can. We all can.
Practice makes permanent. This is what we've become conditioned to say in recent years. It's a true statement no doubt, but what kind of practice are we talking about? And, how do we teach our students to practice to attain better memory, understanding, and ultimately deeper learning?
Here's the method I use:
1. Get Good Sleep
The brain uses a lot of energy, which produces a lot of waste products. This waste is made up of toxins that can destroy brain cells unless they are removed. The buildup of toxins makes it hard to focus. The toxins are flushed out during sleep when the brain relaxes. If you don't sleep enough, toxins build up. A tired brain and a toxic brain doesn’t work very well, so learning is harder.
Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash
Let's be honest. High school, middle school, elementary; most students don't know how to learn effectively. It's because they are rarely taught about their brain. They know it's there. They use it. And yet... They don't know how to guide it. Few consider how to leverage their brain to become awesome learners.
Even if we teach them how to, I don't think we do it enough. We might introduce this or that strategy and then expect students to do it every time. The truth is that in most cases they won't. Or, they might use it in the classroom while we watch, but not at all when learning on their own.
It's not because the strategy is no good. Typically, the opposite is true: the strategy kicks ass and is a game changer. So what gives?...
Most people in leadership positions I encounter are not leaders. They are managers. This is not to say they are bad at their job. Some are in fact quite good. Problem is that while they help sh*t run well, they don’t grow. They don’t grow themselves and they don’t grow their organization.
I’ve experienced this a lot as a public school teacher. Many principals, assistant principals, and school district level administrators focus on efficiency and productivity while talking about improvement. They fail to recognize that as leaders, their main focus should always be on constant improvement. Don’t get me wrong; they all talk about it. Few however, actually live the principle of growing themselves, the people they are meant to lead, and their organization.
So how do you become a leader? How do you ensure you grow as a result of your interactions with those you lead and how do you in turn help those around you grow?
This one’s hard, because it’s in our nature to get defensive when our views or decisions are challenged. Remember fight or flight? Defensiveness is one of the side effects....
Or Saturday, depending on when you read this.
As school draws closer (or maybe already back to the grind?), teachers and administrators experience a renewed sense of purpose. We reflect on how to start the year off right and how we can do things better.
I have an ironic, but very true answer for doing things better. It involves making mistakes. Lots of mistakes!
I took a screenshot of something I found on Pinterest a while ago and decided to make it into a poster you, I, and the rest of the Universe can print and use in their classroom, office, or spaceship.