It is part of our job to remind students, and to allow them to learn, that their learning experience is what is the most important part of being in our classrooms. So often, I imagine classrooms where students are trapped, listening to a stream of noise as a teacher lectures endlessly...who is growing from this experience? Neither the teacher nor the students are gaining anything truly valuable, and "students need to know that their presence in the classroom is both valued and valuable" (Ayers 81). This is why I strive to offer a vastly different experience in my classroom. Simply by paying more attention to how my students learn best will result in more productive class time, and a more accurate portrayal of students comfort zones. It is not my job to make sure they stay there, but rather, push them outside of their comfort zones with the support and resources they need.
Carol Dweck emphasizes the power of the word "yet"....when used as in "not yet"....and how influential those words are when discussing possibility and improvement. How can we get more teachers on board with this mindset, though, instead of taking the "easy route" of allowing students to stay where they are comfortable?
This transitions into Nakkula and Toshalis's view that adolescence itself is something that is constructed. "When adolescents implicitly ask what kind of person they should be, who their friends ought to be, in what or whom they should they should place trust, or what kind of world they should make, the answers we construe and imagine with them help co-construct who they become and the way they approach the world, even if those answers are patently rejected." (Nakkula & Toshalis 3) I read this and thought of our first class this semester, and the words of Frank Smith, when we discussed that students are always learning something, whether it is explicitly taught or not. They are always learning and always becoming...more. That is all we can ask of them, because that is all that we are able to do on our end as well. Teachers and students alike need to learn more in order to become more. And we will always be under construction.