How do you teach courage? How do you develop a courageous classroom? How are you vulnerable with your students? How does shame show up in your classroom?
I’m vulnerable with students by admitting when I don’t know or if I made a mistake. Shame shows up in my classroom by students people pleasing (or as Brene Brown says in her Daring Classroom SXSWedu 2017 talk, reaching for the move towards shield). I know I use a restorative approach to behavior. If students have a concern or if I have a concern, I address it with them and we focus on behaviors, not the person. I model asking questions, not jumping to conclusions. I am reminded of a Walt Whitman quote (because I watched Ted Lasso): Be curious, not judgmental. Asking questions will help you respond appropriately. Take the time to ask questions. This reminded me of these lyrics from Courage by the Tragically Hip:
And yeah, the human tragedy
Consists in the necessity
Of living with the consequences
Under pressure, under pressure
Even though these lyrics remind me of being curious and asking questions; the song, as a whole, has a different meaning that doesn’t fit with being courageous but rather being courageous at the wrong time. Well, at least you tried, which ties in with the next article.
Brene Brown said that vulnerability is needed to teach courage. In Matthew Kelly’s article, Paulo Freire’s Five Ideas for Dialogical Learning, vulnerability is mentioned again in one of the five ideas Paulo Freire stated were important for dialogue and thereby needed for learning. The idea? Love. Show love to students by being vulnerable, praising, giving words of encouragement, showing respect, and taking a genuine interest in student’s interests. Humility is also part of being vulnerable, in that there is no arrogance or fear of being wrong. Students need to ask questions and make mistakes so they can learn from their failures (trail and error). Hope and faith are important for student agency, if they believe they can do it, they will try anything from organizing a charity event to interviewing strangers. Critical thinking is the last idea, I think students learning how to ask good questions and show and explain their thinking process is part of building critical thinkers. All of these ideas can be found in my classroom, in a project students are working on or in feedback I’m giving.
The Tragically Hip: Courage (For Hugh MacLennan). “Courage, it couldn’t come at a worse time.”
I think using tech with these ideas, it’s important to model them and to take time to check in with students. Using tech tools to modify or redefine a task will help to increase student engagement and dialogue, and will help to push student thinking. Giving students clear expectations and goals also help them to lead conversations in breakout rooms. That’s the biggest thing during virtual learning I have observed: hearing students using vocabulary and sentence stems in a small group conversation that I just popped in to. They want to connect. They want to share their thoughts.
This courage prompt really stood out to me because I have never considered how I teach courage. It was insightful to listen to Brene Brown and read the Paulo Freire article and make connections between the two.
How do you teach courage? Do you watch Ted Lasso, if so, what’s your favorite quote? Did you enjoy listening to Courage?