Saturday, 7 February 2015

Lessons from jigsaw puzzles

A less-than-ideal weather situation while away for the long weekend lead to entertainment through jigsaw puzzles. Teaching analogies kept leaping at me off the table, and so I felt obliged to write some of them down.... as random as they might be!

  • Collaboration makes the whole thing easier
  • Don't assume you know where things fit at face value - don't judge before you see things in situ
  • Don't get stuck by only looking for one thing - move on and come back to it
  • Appearances can be deceiving
  • Expect the unexpected (we were doing a wasgij puzzle!)
  • The big picture is clearer when more details are in place
  • Resilience is a necessity
  • Patience and calm is needed to make progress
  • Some things immediately fit into place, others take much longer to work out
  • It can be very hard to find just one thing if you narrow your focus too much - being more open minded lets you make more progress
  • Be willing to be wrong
So what will I take from those ideas and apply to my teaching this term? 

I plan to let the students fill in some of the details for me - I have some vague/outlined plans in my head, but I can't put the puzzle together until I know what each student brings with them, and also what they want to learn about. 

The other thing in completing this 1000+ piece puzzle is that it took a good few hours to do, and there was no reward other than the task itself - but it retained (mostly!) interest as a satisfying and fun activity (especially as we didn't know what the end result would look like), and so motivation to complete it was intrinsically driven..... this also ties in nicely to Dan Pink's Drive which I have also been reading this weekend! A book that I have heard a lot about, and had secondhand information from, but have really needed to read myself to understand the messages on a deeper level (another teaching lesson - students need to DO not just hear about something to learn from it).