Sunday, June 28, 2015

Please Slow Down!

It's Sunday again, and we're heading toward the 3 day holiday weekend that leads many to comment, "Once 4th of July comes, the summer is pretty much over."

Really?  Why do we do this to ourselves?  Officially, we're a week into summer, unofficially, a month.  Heck, I even celebrated another graduate today at another graduation party.  

So why are we rushing?

JUST SLOW DOWN!

 I am seriously considering making the PLEASE SLOW DOWN sign for my classroom.  Part of me fears that my incoming freshmen will think that this is all in an attempt to keep them from turning in research papers written on the fly, but my thought process here is -- well -- thought process.

You see, I truly believe that we are not spending enough time thinking.    And I'm not the only one who believes this, which is actually a bit of a blessing, when it comes to education.  If you want an excuse to try something with students, it really helps to be able to utter the phrase "It's Research Based."

The American Institutes for Research has a series of studies that support what has come to be known as Deeper Learning.   Defined originally by the Hewlett Foundation as "a set of competencies students must master in order to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their knowledge to problems in the classroom and on the job, ” the research is showing that students that combine personal, academic, and social skills as part of their learning are much more successful than those in traditional classroom environments.

Is it possible to convince students of the value of this experience?  Probably not as the lead story on the news, or the first paragraph of a new syllabus.  It might mean introducing the concept of slowing down, smelling roses, and reflecting first -- and offering a chance to breathe and renew.

Chances are pretty good that there will be some odd stares and whispers.  As long as no one freaks out, or becomes so relaxed that sleep ensues, it's worth the risk.

Because the research says so.