I can…. write this post

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Last week, we talked about “I can” statements. These are statements revolving around the educational outcomes and indicators in student-friendly words. At first, I thought this sounded like it would work great for elementary and middle years, but not for high school. This is because I struggled with the idea of getting teenagers to to use the phrase “I can….”; however, the more I looked into it, the more I seen it didn’t have to sound so childish. For example, most teachers were writing on the boards, prior to class, the objective for the day (for example: February 3-differentiate and classify ecosystems); likewise, instead of this writing it in the “I can” format (ex. I can compare and organize ecosystems). After looking at it like this, I started to see how much more beneficial it was to write it in student-friendly language- “while an education system may define the learning in broad terms throughout its documents, teachers much translate and summarize the hundred of statements into language that students and parents can understand (Davies, 2011, p. 27). Also, I noticed when we did examples in class, although they sound easy, they can sometimes be tough to make; conversely, some need barely any adaptions.

So why are these statements important?

Educational jargon can intimidate the students and impact learning. If a student hears that the objective for the day is to comprehend and utilize dimensional analysis to complete stoichiometry questions, they may already be telling themselves they cannot do it. I can statements start students off in the positive.

When I had done further research about the topic, I found the most useful high school content on Pintrest. There was a lot of ideas here about what this would look like in the class- there was great visual ideas as well as how to write them. It was also mentioned that “I can” statements don’t just need to be about the outcome; realistically, they can just be about behavioural or academic goals. Students are the ones in control of their learning, they need to know and feel empowered by that.

As a future educator, and from previous experiences, I know the importance of letting students know the concepts for the day and major topics that are being covered. After this lesson, I am more prepared to present these ideas in a “I can” format. Likewise, I have an inquiry goal of creating good student-teacher relationships- the positivity of “I can” statements will only benefit this.

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