What are you? – Education Detour

The Social studies curriculum for my students, involves the discovery, investigation, understanding and comparison of many different cultures and communities both within Canada and the world. As one could guess we often look at the language(s) spoken, the traditions practiced, the roles and responsibilities of individuals, music, art and many more that I am not going to list. In addition to the above the students also look into the “boring stuff” as I have been told such as economics, primary industries and trades.

However, today before beginning our study of the Inuit of Canada, of of my students raised her hand and politely asked, “Shawn, what are you”. I replied, “What do you mean”. Searching for answer to my question she quickly came up with. “Where are you from”. Although I knew what she was asking and what she wanted to know. I wanted to gauge her ability to be more specific and to think critically about how to get the answer she was looking for.

One peer helped her asking, “Where were you born”, “Edmonton” was my reply. A few students chimed in to say, yes but where are you from. To which I did remind them that I had answered this question. Finally, the girl whom had initially asked the question said, “what is your culture”. I tried to explain, but the complexity of my back ground showed in the blank looks that were looking back at me. I quickly remembered a video that I had seen a few years back.

As visuals are a great teaching tool, I pulled up the video and played it for the kids.

After the video the number of question increased, but needless to say it was a great activity that had students inquiring and seeking information, not because I said it was important or part of a test.

They wanted to know the information.

What I take from this is . . . sometimes the questions that are easily answered, should be used as learning moments.


3 thoughts on “What are you? – Education Detour

  1. Shawn,
    Excellent example of using a teachable moment to foster and develop student growth! What a great way to engage students and use the resources at your disposal to immerse them in higher-level thinking. I applaud you for your quick thinking and ability to generate students interest. Keep up the good work, and be proud of how you do your job. You’re an inspiration and example.

  2. Thanks Rob, yeah it was great to see the kids asking questions, and when you only answer what they are asking instead of what they are intending, watching them sit back. And, literally I thought I could see the gears turning, trying to figure out how to get the answer they were searching for.

    Thank you for the compliment, but I am sure that we all have many of those moments , through out the day, however sometimes we don’t catch it, or we view it as getting off topic. I am thinking, that there are very few questions that students have that are off topic. Also thank you for the compliment you are too kind.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention What are you? – Education Detour « Learning to Lead, Inspiring to Change -- Topsy.com

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