Developing Learners

I’ve heard a lot of talk in the past about educational “snapshots” with regard to various items such as teacher walk-through evaluations, student conferences, mentor observations, ad infinitum. Any view of a work in progress can be given the title, but I’m not concerned about how we label these diverse tasks; I’m concerned with how we interpret them.

Are we taking polaroid pictures of our students, teachers, and schools and then evaluating the photography before the film fully develops? Are we seeing jaundiced test results, red-eyed teacher malpractice, and splotchy school visions? Maybe we need to listen to Andre 3000 on this one (didn’t think I’d ever go to The Black Eyed Peas for educational advice but here we go):

“Shake it, shake–shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.”

As out-of-place as those lyrics may seem, I stress this: we need to follow through our photography with good developing–I’m sure there’s room in this analogy for a dark room reference, but I’m not sure where yet–there needs to be a process and patience, in other words, accompanied by our snapshot. Without that, all we have is a moment in time that could show something like this:

This is me pre-coffee

Every student, teacher, and school has snapshots like this at some point in time.

Or they could look more like this:

Surfing anyone?

We all find paradise moments in our learning as well.

There’s no reason to argue against taking snapshots, but only against using ones that look like this to define things:

This picture actually looks pretty cool, but you get my point :)

A day at the beach or the desert?

Coming to an understanding together, as two parties must do to progress, there needs to be a conversation to aid in development. The process of shaking the picture helps to mix the chemicals within the film. Only when combined together do they allow us to see a discernible picture; then we know how and where to take the next one.

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