Sometimes, Silence Truly Is Golden | Roslynn Jackson | 4 Min Read

Sometimes, Silence Truly Is Golden

I have always been an inquiry-based teacher. I like projects, questions, and organized chaos in my room. I like hearing students’ thoughts and processes: the quiet “hum” of busy-ness means that knowledge is being gained and learning is happening. Right?

Well, not necessarily. Sometimes being busy does not mean being productive. Before I started using an Agile framework in my classes, I learned this lesson the hard way. Sometimes I walked around the class to meet with my students and found that they had no clue what they were doing: they might be doing research by copying and pasting the text from a quick Google search, uploading irrelevant pictures from Google images, or blatantly copying a friend’s notes. They did not have a clear roadmap for what skills and knowledge they were expected to acquire. They just knew that they had to get a certain number of facts or pictures into a Google Slides presentation so they could show a beautiful slide deck to the class. This was my fault. I decided to become a better inquiry-based teacher. I wanted to make better rubrics. I wanted my students to become better note-takers and researchers by asking better questions. I decided to use an Agile framework to help us achieve our learning goals. 

After implementing an Agile framework in my classes, the feel is just different. The students are organized into self-directed teams. The rubric used to tell them what content to include; now it tells students what skills they should be acquiring through their activities. This pivot makes a big difference.  

Before they asked, “Mrs. Jackson, how many facts do I need?” I replied, “the rubric says you need 5.” And just like you’d expect, they stopped at 5 facts even if they did not understand the concept. But now, my response to this same question is, “well, you should include enough information to be able to compare and contrast the differences between the 1960s Space Race and the current Billionaire Space Race, especially the rationales behind them.” Their response is, “Oh, I get it.  I’ll do more research.” In addition, we are able to have a conversation about the historical context of what was going on in the world during the 1960s versus today that includes cross-curricular analysis and application of content. 

With these conversations occurring, one may wonder why it is so…

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Roslynn Jackson

Roslynn Jackson is The Agile Mind Co-Founder | Entrepreneur | Educator with a passion for encouraging students of all ages to use failures as the stepping stones to success. She received a Bachelor's Degree from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and J.D. from University of Miami School of Law.