December 15, 2017
Campus is quiet at this moment and I am guessing the volume in your house has increased in the last day or so. Your child has completed the first semester of work, guided by her or his teachers, advisors, dorm parents, and coaches. In each of these settings, the adults in your child’s life have given careful time and thought, stringing together moments of interactions to create coherent and significant learning. This happens with both effort and intention.
Over the course of this break, you might ask your child the following questions:
- When did you feel you were learning most effectively?
- When did you feel you were learning least effectively?
- What were the differences between those moments?
In the answering of these questions, ask your child to be specific about what she or he did in those moments and how her or his own actions impacted the learning. Also ask your child to be specific about the work of the teacher, coach, or dorm parent. Again, being specific can be central to the learning and the benefit of reflection.
While teachers sometimes or often frustrate students, appropriate challenge and frustration is the hallmark of learning. If everything comes easily, then the teacher is not creating a learning environment that stretches the student. Of course, sometimes a child can be “over-stretched” and that has its own challenges.
I suggest this reflection now because the turn of the semesters is a good time to think about how learning happens and how the structure of the school, the class, the team, or the dorm offers a means to the learning ends. Each moment really can make a difference and, one thing I know for sure, we rarely can predict exactly when that moment can happen. This is why we want your child here and engaged in the Taft program for every moment we are in session. The more the student is plugged into the arc of the learning here at Taft, the greater the likelihood the student will get the most from this experience.
That said, enjoy the time with your child over winter break. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I can’t wait to see the students back and ready to go in the New Year!
All the best,