Celebrate: Re-understanding

celebrate link up

Today I’m celebrating re-understanding.

It happens all the time in my classroom. When students believe they know, but their understanding is false.

On Tuesday, I worked with L.   L is learning English. To boost the clarity of his written thoughts, we did some shared writing. He used the word really to describe how fast something was moving. I wrote really on the page. He read the sentence and stopped me, pointed to the word really and asked, “What does that word mean?”

I responded half laughing saying it’s the word he used to describe something. We talked about the word’s meaning; about how and why we use the word.

His response at the end was, “Oh. I didn’t know that.”

I love it when he says that. It shows his trust and his stance as a learner.

L was using this word in his spoken language. It took writing it and rereading it for him to realize that he didn’t understand the word.  Fascinating from a learning perspective.

This work got me wondering about understanding. How often do we think we know. Or we assume we know. So we don’t question.

Admitting “I don’t know” is hard. For some, it’s close to impossible. Especially when we are supposed to know.  But if we are to be learners, we need to find ways to become more like L. Trusting and brave enough to ask:  What does that mean.



7 thoughts on “Celebrate: Re-understanding

  1. I love those days when I can ask my students a question they don’t know. More often we are learning together. I am usually the one admitting I don’t know.

  2. I had a fabulous English teacher in my final two years of high school. We worked so hard for her, reading, writing, vocabulary & grammar. I still, after many years, remember the lessons. And I still think of her because when I use a word I “think” I know, I look it up to be sure I’m using it correctly, and sometimes, I’m not! Think of all the words, and then all the ways each can be used. I’m so proud that you’re helping this young man know what is the right way, & that it’s ok to not know.

  3. Julieanne,
    The whole process of self – reflection. . . What is this word? What does it mean? What a reflective learner! He truly exemplifies a learner in your classroom! Congratulations!

  4. I am experiencing a lot of this this year with our German exchange student. She has taught me to slow down and really think about the words we use. Sometimes it’s difficult to define the words we use so much. Loved your reflection!

  5. It is a big break through for a learner to realize that something they have taken for granted is false, admit the mistaken thinking and ask for help. Your students must trust you a great deal.

  6. I too like that terminology “re-understanding” as it really gets at something we do. We can have our understanding altered especially when we question. Thanks for sharing this moment.

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