#ONL 171: Getting off the blocks…

This is the post excerpt.

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Dino (16), Daksh (13) and David (3). My three kids  have been my  life’s greatest teachers. Their personalities, likes and dislikes are the polar opposites one another.  Believe me when I say that managing  and balancing these ‘CEO’s of their own lives’, can be challenging. It often feels like I’m trying to balance on a high wire, lodged between  Chicago skyscrapers, taking calculated steps, whilst  contemplating  the pros and cons of my next move and its consequences , trying not to become one with the pavement, yet feeling joyful in the adrenelin rush of it all!

My very right-brained Dino constantly works towards overcoming her learning challenges, yet her  soul connecting compositions on the piano flows so  easily and beautifully when she plays .  My highly integrated Daksh is equally skilled at left and right brain tasks.  She excels academically yet finds solace in creating the most beautiful  paintings of horses.  Little David dominates the household with his very left brained characteristics.  Everything must be analysed.  There must be order. There has to be a rational explanation to each question (and sub question), failing which,  sleep is wishful thinking.  This little man has a low tolerance for ‘fluff’ and a high expectation of delivery and facts.  I remember sitting with him  in his playroom one day  with my prepped teaching plan and strategies to meet the outcomes of teaching him his prime colours when he was two. We had been going through these colours for 3 weeks, yet he would identify the object with confidence but roll his eyes when it got to identifying its colour.   I was on a mission.  I held up the first flash card to him, which was a red ball.

Me: David can you tell mamma what this is?

David: It’s a  ba (w)l !  (High five! Happy boy)

Me: Yay! Well done my boy!!!  (Happy mamma.  Chest puffed out with pride)… Now can you tell me  what colour it is?

The dreaded  eye rolling syndrome (that has also afflicted both his older sisters ) manifested as he  tilted his head to the left,  shoulders slouched as if he was carrying the weight of the world.

David: Mamma..again???

He stood up, took the flash cards from my hand , duck walked across the room with his brows knitted, spread them across the floor, turned to me  and gestured for me to come over. I obliged.

David: (D)is is (w)ed, (h)ellow, b(woo), g(w)een. (W)ed and and (h)ellow makes o(winj) and (w)ed and b(woo) makes p(oo)ple.

He not only knew his primary  colours , but also the combinations that made secondary colours!

David: Na(w)ty  Mamma!  Mamma must  (wern)…..What colour Mamma?.. (holding up the yellow sun).

Well, didn’t I feel like a monkeys uncle!!!???

There were lessons to be learned. My children have taught me that as a mom, I am not only their nurturer and teacher but also their pupil. They have taught me to be patient, to listen and  reflect, process and understand who they are, where they are at and what they need . It’s not about them meeting me where I am, to enable me to meet their needs but me meeting  them where they are in supporting their learning and emotional needs. If David needs structure and rational answers, that is what I give him.  If  Dino needs more time with me and patience from me in supporting her learning goals, that is exactly what I give her, in a manner that speaks to her, be it rapping a Geography essay or singing a song about Hamlet. If Daksh needs me to sit with her and explain  Science, that’s exactly what I will do, with a diagram, because I know that it is what appeals to her.

My kids have taught me how to shape shift between their learning styles and in effect have taught me how to become a  better teacher that speaks to the different learning styles of my students in the lecture hall. They have taught me that a learning challenge is not a disadvantage. but rather a quest for me to explore connecting teaching methods that appeal to these types of learners. They have taught me NOT to  underestimate my student’s ability  to engrain information into their intellectual capacities. They have taught me that being patient with my students and listening to them, helps me to understand their personal learning needs. They have also taught me that I am a life long learner. Without life long learning, I would have nothing new to teach my students.

ONL 171 is one of those journeys that I am excited to be on as a part my life long learning. A part of meeting my students (and my own kids), where they are is to understand that the technological characteristics of this digital generation requires me to engage  with them on platforms that are familiar to them. I can already see myself  creating a Google + community for one of my modules where I get students to engage with each other and analyse problem based type legal scenarios in groups contexts.  I can see myself getting students together to form virtual law firms and working collaboratively to prepare legal papers and legal arguments in digital print. I can see them keeping a  journal of their experiences on Blogs such as this one and reflecting upon the progress that they have made in their learning experience…..I can see the the face of legal education changing, and I’m excited about it

Author: frombabies2lecturehalls with Neetu Chetty

I am the Program Manager of Law at the IIE Varsity College Westville campus, running the School of Law. My research explores augmenting legal education through alternate pedagogies, make it more relevant, bridge building between academia and practice. My blogs draw on my real life experiences, associations and relationships in expressing my reflections. I don't see the world through rose coloured glasses but, I do step back and see the larger picture and consequences of it. I am a mom of 3, and so you will see how I gravitate from the personal to the reflective in my writing. I like being unconventional. Unconventional makes for exciting reading, experiences, strategies and innovations. Enjoy reading my blog!

9 thoughts on “#ONL 171: Getting off the blocks…”

  1. Hi Neetu I am an open learner on this iteration of Open network learning, I think your first blog post is fab 🙂 you have real flair for blogging. Looking forward to seeing your other blog posts. See you online Maddy

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much Maddy. I try to keep things real as much as I can without crossing lines. There’s just so much to learn from, around us, that helps us become better versions of our selves in both our personal spaces and teaching spaces. I also learn so from my students as to what it is that they need from me to best support them in the lecture room. Hoping to learn even more from colleagues such as yourself:)

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  3. Thank you for this first post! Even science confirms that staying at home with children makes you a more patient and empathic, simply a better CEO. I like how you already have a vision for what you want to do with your knowledge from the course. It might make the learning journey more exciting for you because you have set learning goals for yourself. 🙂 I used blogs with teacher students this fall and they seemed to enjoy learning from each other and assessing what the others had written. My suggestion to you is to remember the communication part of most social medias. A blog written only for the teacher is less fun, but when other people read and comment it becomes a very interactive learning environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Neetu, I really enjoyed your post. It was interesting to thing about what we will use the things we learn from the ONL course to do, as you wrote in your last paragraph. I can also imagine a Google + group dedicated to just that perticular learning group or module. And your idea of having virtual law firms where people work together, despite perhaps being physically eyr far apart from each other, was inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a father of four, I agree that you learn a lot from your children. And as they grow older, new things come into play. My oldest son studies medicine, and he is, well – a stereotypical MD (to be). Solid scientific facts only, please. Everything else is bull**it. Discussing the practical realities of life, as a parent or a human being, with him is really challenging and teaches you a lot about how a person´s background influences his way of thinking and making arguments.
    My daughter, then, studies business at Arcada (where I teach). Hearing her views about studying, the teachers, pedagogics etc really gives a good view into a student´s mind. Us teachers, well, we do not really understand their reality and view of life. Sure, they will become like us when they have kids, responsibilities and mortgages, but when interacting with them at school we do need a fair bit open-mindedness. To them, reality is what they experience right then.

    So yes, children and life in general teaches us a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful post…looking fwd to more…its real..not scientific nonscence but real life experiences…. Keep blogging… I am eager for more

    Like

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