Developmental Designs

So many summer happenings … so little writing about it.

I’d like to start with Developmental Designs (DD) as one of my best summer choices. I am someone who takes a lot of classes. I’ve, in fact, never NOT taken at least two (three?) classes during the summer. I vowed I would actually refrain this summer … and then someone recommended DD … and I’m really glad they did. At least I like the PD I do?

Basically, DD was all about how Langer can be more like Kogut. In particular, I learned a lot about social-emotional development. Relevant to our writing here, I learned/thought about the four adolescents needs (besides food/shelter/safety) of competence, autonomy, relationship, and fun. I also learned/thought about empowering language.

Adolescent Needs

I think I am pretty good at meeting students needs of competence and autonomy. They’re very related to all the things we’re doing. And what teacher doesn’t spend lots of time building and obsessing over her relationships with students?

But fun!

Before this class, I thought fun, or at least any fun not related to math, was a sign of poor teaching. This class rid me of that unfortunate belief, and I have been planning lots of smaller and larger ways to integrate fun into the classroom. For example, tossing name-plates into a box at the end of the period and playing a silly game just for fun/relationship at least once a week. 

One of the best parts of this class was that the instructor practiced what she preached essentially every single moment. And let me tell you, it was so fun to play games! And I still learned lots and lots.

Empowering Language

Kogut has touched on this, but empowering language involves directing, reinforcing, reminding, redirecting, reflecting. It takes the student out of the language and keeps the focus on facts/observations and questioning. It is related to many things, such has how to give effective feedback (and teaching students how!) or how to help students become more metacognitive.

I’m spending the rest of the summer practicing empowering language (and not saying “good job!”). It’s more challenging than you might think. Even though I already knew I should do this.

Yay summer, a new school year, intentionality, and social-emotional learning. I’m excited. Also, that was just the tip of the iceberg on this class; you should totally check it out.



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