Owning discovery

Another observation I have of some novice (and experienced) is the tendency to tell too much as they set up learning experiences for students. A story first…

During college I guided canoe trips at Wilderness Canoe Base in the BWCAW with high school kids. There is magnificent beauty awaiting each turn and delight in that first sight. I knew of guides that had the tendency in their enthusiasm to tell their campers, “The rock cliffs around this next bend are magnificent! They …” or “Just wait until you see this next lake, it’s …” the guide owned the excitement of discovery and stole the experience from their campers. As they rounded the bends, campers looked, and we’re only able to say, “You are right, it is beautiful.” how much better to contain your excitement and sit on your tongue. As you round the bend, campers will see it for their first time, and thrill at their discovery. The guide response is to smile and share in this excitement as if together you both discovered it.

When that kindergartner comes into the classroom excitedly carrying the newly blossomed dandelion eagerly sharing it with you, how much better to get down on their level and share the thrill of discovery. Grab a hand lens and looking deeper, find a glass of water to keep it fresh while talking gently of a plant’s need for water.

There are projects and investigations we have done a hundred times, yet to nurture that joy of discovery in our students, we have to set our experiences aside and share in the delight.

About wlindquist

I'm a career educator currently teaching pre-service teachers at Hamline University - Master of Arts in Teaching program. Interested in science education, inquiry-based science, and the intersection of science and literacy.
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