I began to collect some baseline data for the UDL action research project from my grade 2 class. They were given an index card and asked not to put their names on their cards. I asked them to describe how they felt about learning in school in one word. All 21 of my students were present that day.
Most students wrote either “good”, “awesome”, or “great” on their cards. Three students wrote “happy” and four students wrote “fun”. One student wrote “instrordinary” (I’m guessing they meant extraordinary). This reminds me how much younger students either genuinely: like their teacher, like school, and/or like to learn. It feels great to teach such a lovely group of children who have such a positive attitude toward school and learning!
I wonder if they understand that it’s okay if they don’t feel great about learning. I emphasized the importance of being honest, and that they should feel free to write whatever they want. While part of me is worried that my baseline data isn’t entirely valid, I am not too concerned because I teach a group of seven year olds, and they are young children who enjoy school. There’s nothing wrong with that!
I suppose what the real question is: how do we as teachers help children stay in this frame of mind throughout their careers as students? How do we help students capture this love of learning and hold onto it for the rest of their lives?