Celebration: Learning and Unlearning #celebratelu 5/9/15

celebrate link up

It has been a long time since I celebrated.

I connected so strongly with what Tara wrote last week in her post returning to celebration after a time away. Blogging had been feeling like a chore to me. Weekends had been especially hard, and I knew something had to give. It seemed like an easy choice to take celebration off the table for a few weeks, especially since I struggle as a writer to find ways to make these celebration posts feel interesting and necessary. And it did help me to remove this one expectation and cut myself some slack. I haven’t really missed writing these posts, even though I believe strongly in gritty celebration. But I have missed the community–very much. And so, to borrow Tara’s metaphor, I’m diving back in again and keeping Ruth’s very wise truths about celebration in mind.

It’s the final week of the semester (cause to celebrate in itself!) and I’ve spent the week reading my students’ reflective essays and blog posts about what they’ve learned and unlearned this semester. These are always my favorite assignments of the semester. I marvel at all of the different paths learning takes. What I try to create in my courses is a structure and a foundation to support and encourage many different learning journeys. In nearly twenty years of teaching, one of my best unlearnings is that I need to get out of the way. Teaching should be an invitation, not a demand, to learn. There is usually resistance at the beginning of the semester (“Just tell us what you want!”) and some students flounder with so much freedom, but most end up taking to it and loving the experience of being in charge of themselves as learners. The stories of their learning journeys are always full of surprises and discoveries for me as well.

And so this week, I celebrate my students’ embrace of learning and unlearning, their willingness to dive in, muck about, make messes, play, explore, know and not know. I’ve learned as much or more from them as they have from me, and that’s just the way it should be.






11 responses to “Celebration: Learning and Unlearning #celebratelu 5/9/15”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    What a fantastic assignment! I love Lindsey’s post – I read it first, I admit, to see how you were cursed. 🙂 You have inspired Dr. Ellington!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was very amused to read about how she was cursing me! Glad the story had a happy ending with 44 books read!

  2. Kevin Jacob Kelley Avatar

    We all the “just tell us what you want to hear” student :-). Great way to challenge them!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think I’ve been that student myself! I’m always amused when I reflect on how annoying I would find myself as a teacher if I could be my own student!

  3. anita Avatar

    I love your links this week. As a professor – part time – I too have read lots and lots of reflections and comments this week – Lindsey – and my student who said, “You professors should all talk to each other,” will keep me moving in a positive direction!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Anita! I so enjoy these reflective learning posts. They teach me more about what’s working in my courses and what needs work than any other assignment.

  4. Terje Avatar

    Love the combination of learning, unlearning, invitation and getting out of the way. I am glad that the student writings provide surprises and discoveries.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s so much fun to read student writing when you have no idea what you’re going to discover!

  5. Tara Smith Avatar

    I’ll be back to read these individual accomplishments, Elisabeth. How marvelous to celebrate the learning work our kids do.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Tara! I had a different celebration post planned for today but I’m glad I went in a different direction and celebrated some of my students’ work.

  6. […] celebration of the end of the semester and my students’ learning and […]

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