When we come from a place of curiosity, it says that we are hoping to learn more, shows that we care and helps us get deeper answers than what we may have intended. I was reminded of this earlier this week when I heard a teacher talking to a student who was having a hard time getting started on the writing task. There are times when we can create our own answers for the students and move forward based on those assumptions. In my head, I had my own idea of what the student was doing, why they were doing it and what should be done to redirect them. All of those thoughts changed as I heard the student’s answers to the teacher’s questions…
It started when the class was beginning their writer’s workshop time. The student had all of their materials out, they had learned the mini-lesson, the objective was clearly stated, the students responded to questions regarding what was expected and the transition went smoothly. It appeared that everything was in place. However, the student had not yet started working and was beginning to get disruptive. What could have been a simple reminder to get back to work was turned into an opportunity to understand why the student had not yet started their work:
Teacher: I noticed you are having trouble getting started on your writing.
Student: I don’t know how to start the paragraph.
Teacher: Would using the classroom help charts give you ideas?
Student: I can’t see them from where I am.
Teacher: Can you use your iPad to go and take a picture of them so that you can see them?
Student leaves their seat, takes a picture of the help charts, returns to seat and starts writing.
The fact that this conversation came from a place of curiosity instead of instant redirection helped the teacher provide a solution to the problem. I am not saying that all interactions will be this smooth, not at all! That would be unrealistic. What I am saying is that sometimes, coming from a place of curiosity can help us understand what is causing the issue and can help us find a strategy that will be effective long term and potentially prevent issues from occurring in the future.