Finding the exits.

Through the door…

Did you ever hear a buzzword or jargon from an evaluator or someone in an evaluative role and while you’re nodding your head, you have the realization that it’s meaningless without context? (That’s a nice way of saying baloney.) Recently the idea of ‘students not having a sense of urgency’ was attributed to my practice, and this made my hackles rise. I’ve been reflecting on what part is defensiveness, irritation, etc. for a few days now. The notion of ‘urgency’ connotes panic. Fortunately, I had read Andrew Miller’s article, The Tyranny of Being On Task before this jargon was laid out there, so I felt prepared to counter with research. But it also is about processing and allowing for confusion.

In any case, reflection is a two-way viewpoint. There are times we all want our students to feel, well, maybe urgent is too potent of a word but compelled to find out something new or talk about things that affect them, their families and world. Sometimes I wonder if I provide too much high cognitive demand–is there such a thing?  With Burning Questions and other rigorous thinking tasks, if one only sees a slice of a room during the process, no fair or accurate evaluation is possible.

In any case, here are some curated questions. Some of them were time-bound, and the topics aren’t relevant any longer. (I am not sure anyone cares if Mitt Romney was a bully in high school. Or maybe they do. *shrug*).

From the New York Times Learning Network:

163 Questions to Write or Talk About

55 Questions for Students

183 Questions for Writing or Discussion

Urgency, or passion, shifts and changes for us all. For example, by the end of this lesson, a reluctant writer wrote a delightful story. Many stepped up, took risks, and tried something new. When I see them again, they will all hear positive feedback on their growth in the process. And with that, I do have a sense of urgency.