Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Recap of H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk: Dignity

H.e.a.r Chicago Talk was this past Wednesday. Our three speakers spoke on the theme of Dignity.

From left to right, Sendhil Revuluri, Mark Larson, Jill Howe, and me

Mark Larson, assistant professor of education at National Louis University, showed clips from his nationwide interview project. Speakers talked about prioritizing the creativity that's integral to learning, and saying No to bad ideas versus choosing to work with existing systems no matter how flawed.

Mark chose a couple audience questions for further reflection: Which interview question would you most like answered in an interview broadcast to the world; and Is it possible for people who have a lot to lose to fight for change?

Sendhil Revuluri, associate director of the Suburban Cook County Mathematics Initiative (SCCMI), which promotes mathematics improvement in high-needs districts, talked about honoring students' existing understandings and misunderstandings in order to teach them most effectively, and how reasonable assessment benefits that process. 

The audience question Sendhil chose for further reflection was, What would a class without assessment look like?

Jill Howe, co-producer of Story Sessions, did a live-lit performance about teaching--and leaving teaching--as a Chicago Public Schools teacher, and the continuing effects of that experience five years down the road.  

The audience question Jill chose for further reflection was, How do you express the desire to teach now that you are no longer a teacher?

That question asked of Jill really struck a chord within me. My teaching career was brief and, by this point, is fairly ancient. And yet--and yet--the desire and drive to teach, the lingering, complicated emotions I have about the experience, the impact this work had on me, continues to shape my life.

I mentioned there was a theme to the evening--Dignity. The theme idea is new, based on feedback from prior attendees, and it worked great. It helped bring out speakers and gave audience a focus. The themes for the next two events are Access (February) and Green Space (May).

I made a couple other changes to the evening, too, based on participant feedback:
  • Past attendees noted that they like the focus on inquiry, but still want to hear answers. So, I added a component where the speakers have time to choose a few questions: some that they can answer, and one that they can't answer fully but that they find particularly thought-provoking, to hold onto for further reflection. This method seemed to retain a variety of question types while providing a more satisfying learning experience. 
  • I've have partnered up with the excellent Educelerate Meet-Up group, which brought out a fantastic crew of thoughtful and energetic people. My hope is to continue to build partnerships with a variety of educator groups with the aim of creating a unique and fruitful mix of participants.
All in all a fun evening with thoughtful and knowledgeable people. I'm looking forward to the next one. 

Can you guess which sticky-note set belongs to the mathematician and which belongs to the writer/performer? :D

No comments:

Post a Comment