Dr. Judith M. Newman



wonderful Ideas

[ Journal Entry ]

Let me start with the issue of wonderful ideas—several of you had things to say about Duckworth's idea and it set me thinking about my own wonderful ideas this past day—I was able to come up with a couple:

  • while I was listening to the various small group discussions I heard someone wondering how you'd recognize not-learning—I jotted in my book two questions: what do I see when I'm engaged? what do I see when I'm not learning? That led to the small group discussion—that wasn't something I'd planned in advance.
  • While doing the freewrite after the first discussion, it dawned on me that we needed to take the conversation further: What engages me? What shuts me down? Again, not a planned activity but a "good idea".
  • Shaun and I were playing with the scanners, just to be sure we knew what we were up to. The first scanner didn't work. We tried a couple of programs but we couldn't get the machine to scan. I turned to Shaun and wondered whether it was plugged in—it wasn't.

Three small moments where I made a connection with the situation that dealt with the unexpected, the problematic, the puzzling—that's what wonderful ideas are all about.

The wonderful ideas that Duckworth is referring to are the connections we make, the insights we have, that let us see situations in new ways. In actual fact we all have wonderful ideas many times a day but they usually go unnoticed.

What I take from Duckworth's discussion is that we need to notice them, value them, and help students build on theirs.

So my question to you is what wonderful ideas have you had in the last couple of days?