Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tri-Optimal Learning

Today I got to attend a PD session with Heather McDonald and Karine Clay.

We learned all about neuroplasticity, attachment and ecology and and their "Tri-Optimal Learning Strategies" model. We learned how all those things affect learning and behavior.

The best part was we discussed specific behaviors and why they might occur and ways to respond. Often it is just easiest to say: I think the kid is doing that to make me crazy! Or they're doing it because they're lazy. Or they're just unmotivated. However, Heather and Karine's theory is kids do want to succeed. They don't purposely fail. There are factors in their lives that bring out these behaviors and we have to learn to understand those factors and work with them.

It was hard work - but this is the work I love. It makes me think differently about the children in my class. It makes me more thoughtful and kind. That doesn't mean I always have to be soft. I learned today that there are some students who I need to be more curt with. I need to enable them less. I need to be more demanding.

It was a tiring day. They came and observed me teach in the morning. We met at 11:30 and de-briefed. We worked through lunch and talked about strategies for different behaviors. After school was an open meeting for all the staff to come and ask questions. It was great because we could say, "I have a student that does this and this and I've tried that and that and that and it isn't working." and they gave us great advice.

I love days like this!

Here is some of the other work Heather and Karine have been doing:

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