[ed. note: I will republish some articles from 2008 and 2009 on flow since they fit in with recent articles. They discuss a concept that is most important to our success in our CI classrooms – flow.]
We ask questions. We do not know what the answers will be.
One of the answers feels right to us. It could be the first suggested answer or the seventh suggested answer. We take it, and circle around it for awhile, adding details, comparing things, retelling all of the information we have gathered from the beginning every once in a while. From that questioning, which is our part of the equation, and our students’ answers, their part, a story emerges.
Our students have more ownership in the story than we do, because their answers are everywhere in the story. This is as it should be. We, on the other hand, have more ownership in not being bored, which means speaking the language in an interesting and meaningful way in our classrooms. The kids don’t know this. They think we have never heard better and more creative answers in any story – ever. What a grand game!
Those teachers who think that they are responsible for every twist and turn of a story miss the point. The teacher’s function is that of a mirror, using circled questions to help the students bring their story into focus. Our circled questions are the hammer and chisel of the sculpteur, who waits to see what images form from her work.
Therefore, we don’t just duplicate the same story script we are working from. We just go with the flow. Those old enough to remember that expression, “just go with the flow”, know that it was associated with do-nothing hippies of a long time ago.
I defend that. It is a unique and wonderful thing to be able to trust in a process. I defend my desire to just go with the flow in stories, listening for cute answers and letting my students’ suggestions build the story. Another way to say that is that I just let the story become itself by letting the students be themselves (read creative).
Going with the flow means I get away from my desire to control the class, the story, the curriculum, the people around me, their dogs, and just about everything I am afraid of. When I try to control everything, the students sense that and don’t know how to respond. Everyone freezes.
Going with the flow is a good thing in stories.