I was fortunate enough to have been involved in a professional learning session yesterday at my school. Our focus was on developing engaged and motivated readers and we were investigating strategies which had proven successful in fostering these behaviours in younger students.
There was a particular reference made during the session when it called for teachers to observe their readers and to analyse their reading habits. Not whether they could decode or not, or whether they could read with expression or not, but just their actual reading behaviours when they were reading independently. Do they lose interest? Do they flick pages randomly? Do they fidget, wiggle, get out of their seats, change books multiple times? Do they read with focus?
The series of questions had been designed to serve as one component of creating a ‘reader profile’ of each of our students to develop a mosaic showing their reading skills, preferences and behaviours.
There was a key point which was made whilst discussing the student observations which had been recommended to take place which was to view each student’s skills, preferences and behaviours through an admiring lens.
This was described as having a conscious mindset to focus on what a student can do whilst still recognising where gains could be made. It was not asking anyone to be unrealistic but instead to ensure that the interaction was undertaken from a positive standpoint.
The phrase immediately resonated with me as I recognised that many situations in life and learning could benefit by us viewing things through ‘an admiring lens’. A simple shift in focus can be tremendously powerful, and perhaps change the tone of conversations with our students (and with each other?).
One would hope that this is a stance that most educators would take but I hadn’t encountered the phrase before, and to me, it summed it up beautifully. So here’s to viewing life and learning through an admiring lens!