On page 1 I made a note in the margin, "Can already see why others read his Choice Words multiple xs." As I re-immersed myself in Johnston's thoughts I could feel the energy building. With lines like, "As teachers we choose our words and, in the process, construct the classroom worlds for our students and ourselves," (p. 1) I found myself seeing the power of coming back again and again. I remembered loving the first chapters back in March but it was even more powerful than I recollected. I thought about Katie's mentions of reading his Choice Words every summer. I can envision a new summer tradition for myself to re-energize with his words.
While reading, I was thinking about myself as a teacher, as well as a parent (my reflections last night prompted my slice for today). I was thinking about the range of influences on the children's lives with which we come into contact in order to understand our role in influencing the narratives of their lives or the potential need to overcome influences of narratives toward fixed learning. While reading Johnston's thoughts about fixed vs. dynamic learning theories, I think of so many connections - to workshop philosophy, to conversations about democratic education, to literature such as Fullan's about teachers as professionals, to Ali Edwards' nudges to explore and create enjoying the process without being solely focused on the final product.
I am thinking about the importance of on-going dialogues among staff to remind each other about the language we are using and the messages we send with the way we influence the culture of our schools. Specifically I am thinking about being intentional about the language I use with workshop mini-lessons, including sharing experiences about myself as a learner and focusing on the process of not allowing fear about the outcome of attempts to get in the way of learning or visions of the future. I am also thinking about book clubs and inquiry questions related to reading to focus on the dynamic nature of learning and growing.
I also thought about implications for older learners. Next fall, I will be teaching one course as an adjunct, development. I am planning on reading some excerpts for setting the tone for theories of learning and perceptions that kids have. I want them to have Johnston's ideas tumbling around in their minds as they get ready to engage in a Kidwatching Kit assignment.
Johnston makes me think about myself as a teacher, as a pre-service teacher educator, as a parent, and as a learner. The implications of his words are vast. Johnston stated, "I help you make productive choices, because the language we choose in our teaching changes the worlds children inhabit now and those they will build in the future," (p. 7). I am excited to continue on with the rest of the book, ready to be continually inspired...