I am a huge fan of flexible seating. Why? Because it speaks to me… to every child. It is a language all on its own. It says … come in and choose what works for you! Choose what is best for your learning. To me “beyond flexible” is a respect to all languages of learning…. it builds a culture of value, trust, and respect.
Respect for differences.
Respect for prior knowledge.
Respect for one’s strengths… because everyone has them!
By providing flexible seating I am “speaking and interpreting many languages to learning.” It is the “multilingual approach to learning”… each child’s own personal language. I am letting each child know that I am privileged to learn with them and I cannot wait to see what they have to offer in their own way. But why stop with seating? Why not go beyond and have flexible learning too?
It makes me think of how I choose my shopping experience. I am in the moment. My moment looks different based on my day… my mood… my energy. I am the one who likes to walk in to a store that offers a variety. I want different. I don’t want a carbon copy of someone else. I don’t want everyone to know where I bought it just by glancing at a “label.” I am different and I embrace it, just like I embrace the different learners in my classroom each day!
George Couros, author of Innovator’s Mindset, made a strong point this week (during the IMMOOC YouTube live session)… one that resonated with me. He mentioned that when leading there are times “I am literally trying to figure this out right now.”
Thanks George… that is me! That is my shopping style! My life style! My learning style! I am wrestling with what I want… what I want to wear. I may not even know until I see it. I feel my shopping is similar to students’ learning. I feel they wrestle with their own learning and it may change from subject to subject like brand to brand. They may not even be in touch with their own likes or dislikes, yet they are trying to win at the “game of school” through one experience. Shouldn’t they come out with an amazing outfit of learning designed just for them? Shouldn’t their learning be flexible too… the kind that goes beyond differentiation? Isn’t it their own learning language?
“It’s more than just a skill level. Each student has a different set of interests and passions and prior knowledge. Each student has a different set of questions. Each student has a different system that works for them.” –A.J. Juliani and John Spencer, authors of Empower