[Week 4 Reflection] Quotes and Questions


I do relate to your words, Sue, I’ve been facilitating an after-school Scratch club for 3 years now and I also consider Scratch to be that precious jewel of discovery for both me and the children who come every Friday.
Answering your question, I made it clear from day 1: We are all there to learn from each other and help everybody learn, me included, so they get used to the idea of being called to help some classmate out every now and then.
I borrow the quote that stood out to you too :wink:


"Our ideas about peers, collaboration, and community today are very different than they were in 1993."
With the rapid influence of ever changing technologies over all learners, I too find that my ideas about how learners learn is constantly changing. An awareness of what matters to who, when, and why will effect how learners respond to challenges. Skills in certain areas are enhanced in some, due to how they engage with new technology. In others the skills need to be developed. A one size fits all should not be assumed…


Good teachers and good mentors move fluidly among the roles of catalyst, consultant, connector, and collaborator.

I liked this alliterative attempt to capture some of the key dimensions of mentoring in a space. The question that I often find myself wondering about is what role does a mentor’s own learning and project work play in a space? From my own experience, my sense is that it is inspiring to see the projects and passions of people that are mentoring you. But I’ve had conversations with teachers and others who shy away from putting their expertise on display because it feels like ‘showing off’ or can be intimidating for other learners. What do you think?


“Creativity and collaboration, that´s made possible when there´s an environment of trust, respect and caring”

I teach in an alternative program within the public school board, which means that many of our students are bussed to us. When they are at school, it may be the only time that they get to see each other. It’s interesting teaching students who do not necessarily live in the community, as their community is now the school and classroom.

When I start the school year, I spend A LOT of time building community in the classroom. We build expectations for working together, do lots of practice through STEAM activities, problem solve, get frustrated, laugh and grow, developing those skills of trust, respect and caring. We close every day with Peace Conferences saying thank you, congratulations and sorry to different people in our class. Sometimes we get to actual curriculum. The payoff is huge in the end.


Thanks “Guido” for your information.


“Teachers just tell you: Do this, do that," is one that really resonates with me too.
“Good teachers and good mentors move fluidly among the roles of catalyst, consultant, connector, and collaborator”.


“Good teachers and good mentors move fluidly among the roles of catalyst, consultant, connector, and collaborator” + the definitions that followed.
–> this section really resonated with me as potentially being useful for our camp staff. It made me wonder how I could leverage these ideas in our camp leader training?..


This section from Week 4’s reading stuck out to me…

Clearly, there are big problems with the traditional teaching strategy of delivering instruction
and information. So what’s the alternative? Some people go to the opposite extreme, arguing
that children are naturally curious and can figure everything out on their own. They often refer to
Jean Piaget’s famous quote: “When you teach a child something, you take away forever his
chance of discovering it for himself.” Some people interpret this to mean that the best way to
help children learn is simply to stay out of their way.<<

It’s sometimes tricky to find that balance of instructing, guiding, letting students figure it out, etc. all in a small amount of time. I try to give as brief instructions as I can, provide help resources for students to refer back to, project criteria and rubrics, encourage students to help each other/work together, etc. My biggest challenge is that some children still struggle with thinking independently, and want to be told exactly what to do. Of course I don’t do that. :slightly_smiling_face: I just keep trying to encourage them and let them know that they can do it.


Good point. At the beginning of the year, I find that if I ask a question, I receive very few responses. The students are waiting for someone to come up with the right answer. If I a pose a question and then have them turn and talk about their ideas before sharing, there is a much better response and the quality of the ideas is much better. The sharing of ideas becomes more fluid as the year progresses.


Your point is well made. I believe that this can work well at any age. Take the playground. In schools that have all the grade levels sharing the entire space, you can see the younger children learning the games and skills that they see the older students playing. I’m lucky at my school because the older students don’t mind the younger ones being part of their activity. It’s just the way it has always been. It’s a relatively happy playground and the games and skills are being passed onto the younger children. It’s fun to watch how the games evolve. You don’t observe the same thing happening in segregated playgrounds. It’s unfortunate because a lot of the childhood games and songs have been completely lost to future generations…

At an academic level, this can also work. When I taught Kindergarten, I always had the grade 6 students come in and work on a project with the little ones. These were not necessarily one day activities. There was usually a long term goal. As a junior teacher, I try to get my students into the younger grades to do something with them. Not always easy due to scheduling issues and other teachers’ goals. In Chess Club, I encourage the experienced players to mentor a beginner. The older students also develop and learn because they actually have to sift through their knowledge, review it, and explain it the someone else. Often it creates new insights and understanding within themselves. Being a mentor is actually a skill that takes a great deal of effort to learn how to do well.

Being a mentor in itself is a skill that needs to be modelled, practiced, and learned. In your world you are being mentored by experts in their field. They have done the learning, the exploring, and the synthesizing. They also have the experiences to do this role.

What I don’t understand is why people do not see teachers as knowledgeable mentors. I may teach to a curriculum; however, it is my years of learning, experiencing, and synthesising that enables me to teach and subject. When you go to your mentors, they are teaching you what they have learned. Teaching is the passing on of knowledge and experience. And, there are many ways to do this and there are times that it must be done explicitly and in a certain sequence. You cannot have a student use a laser in the engineering lab before they are explicitly taught how to use it. The student only understands the science of lasers through a combination of taught principles and exploration.

The way I see it, the mentor is a teacher and a teacher is a mentor. It seems that the word “teacher” has become to mean the word “dictator”.


I absolutely agree. The sense of accomplishment from your own struggles cannot be matched. You can see it in the children’s faces.


I have no answer to this because I think we are all still trying to figure it out. If we try to find the “correct balance”, we’ll just create a new traditional teaching system. I think that there is no must answer. Each year, the way I teach is directly related to my students needs. I do see in my classes students who need more structure and direct teaching at their learning level. Others are able to work in a less structured environment.

I’m not certain how things are in different countries and jurisdictions; but where I teach, our junior classes are often large and very diverse. This does not refer to cultural or economical. I’m referring to academic abilities and social skills. In any given year, I can be working with students functioning at a grade 1 to grade 6 level academically and students with special needs. One year, I had a grade 3 student already attending university math and physic courses. In addition, teachers are not just working with different student skill levels. There are a lot of emotional needs that we are faced with; both students and parents!

Public school, by its very nature, means that the students are there because they must be. Not because they think it’s something that they might want to try. We as teachers are charged with bringing all students of all abilities to a level where they can be the best independent, knowledgeable, functional adult that they can be. Parents and society demand that we produce students who are academically strong and who will work in very skilled and demanding careers. Maybe, our society needs to come to grips with what is education. Based on my memory of the development of the IQ test, I don’t think we will ever agree over the understanding of learning and what is its ultimate goal.


This is an understanding that many people have. However, most teachers are more concerned about the learning and are frustrated because they feel their hands are tied. Some teacher’s salaries are directly related to how many students they manage to push through to a B or A level on standardized tests. Not very conducive to real learning. Within this framework many teachers are developing great learners, thinkers, and risk takers.

The Ministry of Ed, parents, employers, and society at large are demanding that they see learning. To many this means they want to see marks that prove that students know things. Locally our universities, in reality, won’t admit students into the science and math programs with marks less than 95%. They are no longer interested in the students who have demonstrated learning. Profs, who I have talked to, recognize that a student coming in with 70s and 80s within the necessary disciplines, can be just as, if not more, successful in university than students with the 90’s. because they have learned how to learn, study, and persevere and have developed resilience in the face of difficulty. I’m not say all will; however, these students are no longer given the opportunity to succeed.

People need to remember that teachers do not choose what to teach and they are often told exactly how to teach. From where I stand, change has to come from other directions before we can change the schools.


“Good teachers and good mentors move fluidly among the roles of catalyst, consultant, connector, and collaborator”
I always wonder how I can be a better teacher, and improve on my strategies and methods in helping children’s development. A question for myself is how can i can use these roles to adapt into my teaching style and into the learning environment. Another question would be, would teachers need to have these 4 components? What happens when you have only one component? How can we strengthen the roles that we need improvement on?


“not only at your own peace” but also in collaboration with others"
I know that by doing by yourself you can learn a lot, however, also doing with a team you can learn not only the subject but also the teamwork.


I love that this chapter focuses on the importance of social interaction while learning. I believe students learn a lot by just talking through things with one another. They can share ideas, stories, and collaborate with one another. Working together also develops friendships that can last a lifetime. I believe new and better ideas form when students have the opportunity to work together.


This long quote is from Papert’s reading about samba schools in Brazil (from Mindstorms):

Despite these similarities, LOGO environments are not samba schools. (…) Ultimately the difference has to do with how the two entities are related to the surrounding culture. The samba school has rich connections with a popular culture. The knowledge being learned there is continuous with that culture. The LOGO environments are artificially maintained oases where people encounter knowledge (mathematical and mathetic) that has been separated from the mainstream of the surrounding culture, indeed which is even in some opposition to values expressed in that surrounding culture.

I love it because it talks of Papert’s intellectual honesty: he recognizes that the main result of his work (LOGO) is not what he might have loved it would be. He gives it value as a model (an “object-to-think-with” about computers and education), and hopes that the true computational samba school will come at some point in the future.

I also like it because this leads to a natural question: is Scratch that computational samba school? To what extent is Scratch, with its embedded media, online community, etc., fulfilling Papert’s vision? (My own guess is that it is :slight_smile: ) In what directions should we all work towards in the future to culturally integrate abstract learning (such as computational thinking) further?


Upon reading chapter four, I ran across the quote from Jean Piaget saying, “When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” To some extent, I agree with what Piaget is saying. However, I believe it is quite an extreme view. In essence, Piaget is saying when we tell a child “what” to think, we are keeping their ideas limited to the ideas of others. Instead, teachers should aim to teach children “how” to think for themselves, using their insights and reasoning and creative abilities to possibly come up with something new and helpful to themselves and others.


“In all of these different types of collaborations, scratchers area able to create projects that no one of them could have created on their own and they’re able to learn things that no one of them could have learned on their own.”

I love this quote. It makes me wonder how much more we could be learning in schools if this approach was main stream. For example collaboration shouldn’t be limited to “group work” but a normal part of the education system. Too much of natural collaboration is considered cheating when really this is the key to optimal creativity, learning and success. Not to mention it is cruicial to society abd therefore should be a skill we are introducing and allowing our students to experiment with.


"Our MIT team explicitly designed the Scratch website to encourage collaboration, so we
expected young people to interact and work together on Scratch."
Especially in the realm of Education, collaboration and working with peers is a must. Kids in Elementary school, middle school, high school, and college must partake in some sort of group work. Working in groups helps students develop skills but also helps them see perspectives of others. We cannot do life alone. Therefore, being in constant collaboration with others is the best way to learn.