Picture your classroom...What is it like? What are students doing? What does it sound like? How does it feel to be a kid in there?
Recently I watched this awesome TEDtalk and it resonated with me. It made think about what we are asking of our students each day, and it made me reflect on whether or not our beliefs align with our practices.
The TEDtalk discussed the learning zone vs the performance zone. The learning zone is a safe practice zone. It consists of a large span of time to rehearse and try and make mistakes and try again in an environment that doesn't judge. The performance zone is the a shorter, more brief period of time that assesses what we've practiced.
Take for instance an athlete. Their learning zone is the massive amount of practice and work out they will do before their match which is their performance zone. During the learning zone, they may have extra padding or carry more weight, but when performance time comes, they may not need all of the additional supports. In the TEDtalk, Eduardo used two analogies. One was of a tight rope walker who uses a net during the learning zone but not during the performance zone. Imagine how much time is spent in the LZ for tight rope walkers. He also talks about Biance. Her learning zone is practicing for concerts. Preparing can mean writing songs, learning dance moves, practicing with the singers and dancers. This takes time. But when the concert night hits, this is performance.
For English learners, being in the learning zone, in a safe environment that lowers the affective filter is vital. When ELs feel comfortable and safe, learning can begin. The more time they are given in the LZ, the quicker they will progress and the more they will succeed.
Think about your classroom. How much time are your students spending in the learning zone? How much time are they spending in the performance zone? Which do you think should they spend more time in?
After reflecting on this, I began to think of myself as an educator. How much time am I spending in the learning zone? Am I spending enough time growing, practicing, rehearsing before I enter the performance zone?
How about you? Are you in the learning zone? What practices are in place for you to continue to grow in your craft?