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You Are Not Your Idea

The video linked below captures a snippet of a dialogue that took place with a small group of 7 – 9 year old children on the last day of school before summer vacation. These children had studied the concept of ecological interdependence for their school year. Watch what happens when the teacher asks: What does it mean to research? To be a researcher?

Download Interdependence Research Discussion for 6.19.08 .mov (268291.1K) 

Share your thoughts in the comments section below or in the discussion forum:

What was your emotional response as you watched the video?

What surprised you?

What do you imagine allows children to engage in dialogue of this kind? What foundations do you believe have to be established? 

What benefits come from learning to engage in this kind of dialogue?

What is the role of the teacher?

This snippet of the dialogue was excerpted from a longer conversation which lasted close to an hour. In the larger time frame, you would see each child actively participate. 

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6 responses to “You Are Not Your Idea

  1. My emotional response as I watched this video was discomfort. Not because of the topic of conversation but more because of the interactions between the children. I felt like the teacher could have directed the conversation a bit more. Some children zoned out, others got frustrated, some tried to follow protocol of raising their hands but weren’t acknowledged. A couple of them dominated the conversation.

    I was somewhat surprised by the passionate responses. The children had very strong opinions about what constituted research and what did not.

    I think children can engage in great conversations when they are supported to know that their ideas matter and will be taken seriously. When they are able to express their thoughts and know that others will listen they are more likely to put their ideas out there. If they realize that no one will put them down if an idea doesn’t meet the group’s approval.

    A discussion of this kind allows children to test their theories and ideas to come to a new understanding. By hearing other ideas they’re able to modify their own hypothesis to come to a central place of understanding.

    The role of the teacher is to facilitate and support. It is also the teacher’s role to record the ideas of the group in order to bring them back later as further discussion points. The teacher’s role is to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.

  2. This discussion was brilliant. I think ,that those children were aloud to explore and chat and argue in a save environment,witch makes me feel at first a bit nervous and willing to put some rules,but after I thought that`s the
    real way ,of founding out what research and researcher is.

  3. I’m so excited to see the contrast between Tonya and Ruslana’s reactions to the clip. I hope more voices can be heard about this here. Is it possible that the comments section can become a discussion space as active as the one in the video?

  4. The socialisation aspect fo this is what was drawn out of me in this clip. I felt that someone should have been holding a conch! I was an ESL teacher, and one of the difficulties children had in emerging language is to find a voice and be able to interrupt and add to conversations, so we taught expressions for facilitating this. The interruption technique here seemed to be to speak louder. I can identify with the free flowing energy and ability for children to contribute as and when they had an idea. The teacher was still ultimately in control, and decided who contributed and when others had to stop and listen. Would giving this power to the children take away from the active discussion, or would it contribute to more active listening? When the child with the most prevailing argument at the end of the clip eventually gets silence to listen, he starts laughing, as if the role was to gain the floor. The girl who then wants to add something to this does so by jumping up and down in her seat and looking for the teacher for confirmation. It is a highly complex and confusing area for me.

  5. I was surprised at how little the teacher had to jump and tell the students to take turns and raise their hands. I was impressed with how the students did not need to raise their hands and they were able to discuss freely without having to be called on one at a time by the teacher.At first I even felt a little anxiety about the students sharing out and I was afraid arguments would come up and everyone would be talking over each other and no one would be listening.The role of the teacher was the listener and to guide only when students were not able to be heard. The students probably had norms and agreements established that they had been working on for the entire you. Respect was a big part of their community and it was apparent in the video.

  6. Initially, I was put off by this discussion. Students were raising their voices and interrupting each other. As a teacher, I felt myself wanting to structure this conversation so all students would have equal participation and an opinion. However, I think this type of discussion is “real.” Students need to learn how to interject and find ways to participate because naturally there are certain personalities that tend to dominate the discussion. To my surprise, for some of the students the discussions led to a rethinking of the meaning of “research.” This is the beauty of collaborative discussion, it allows you to listen to others as a way to reshape and allow your own ideas to evolve.

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