We need a story script for this one.
This reminds me of something my husband did in the beginning of his World Religions classes that he taught for 15 years. I don’t know the exact name of the assignment, but it was something like “share a life-changing experience or moment.” This was a class for seniors in high school, and the idea was that because they were going to spend the year exploring various faith traditions, it was important to check in personally with what you believe and what has informed your current perspective on your place in the world and whether/how you connect with something bigger than yourself.
Sharing real life stories that have informed us and affected us always end up being the most compelling for our classes because they connect us in ways we can’t plan out in a “student learning objective.”
Once again, I see a very strong connection to emergent literacy stances in many elementary environments. Our own lives, our own stories, are compelling, and over the last 20 years or so, it’s been interesting to see elementary writing instruction take on urgency and compelling qualities (as teachers started to work intensely with student autobiographical writing) and then become slowly drained of energy and life once again (as autobiography became known as “best practice” and experts started to churn out prefabricated lesson plans about just what that autobiographical writing should look like). The same urgency to communicate is at the heart of what we do as language teachers, and I feel almost thankful that language instruction (at least in elementary school, possibly at other levels as well) is unexamined enough that the formula makers haven’t descended yet upon what we do.
It’s the urgency, the inspiration, the compellingness that teaches. And though I find that I can plan a lesson, I can’t plan an emotional tone; I have to hope to recognize it and lean into it when it happens.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to
Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!
Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.