In thinking about all things teaching and learning as we head into this pandemic summer, I’ve turned my attention to unlearning. Some of this will come quickly, I suspect--the daily Zoom schedule of our current lives will fall off our calendars without a second thought. On the other hand, I’ve already realized just how long and hard it will be to help my second-grader to unplug after months of school-sanctioned screentime--his whole life should not be spent on a device even though it could be. (As an English teacher, I do appreciate the irony that he’d learn so much about this so quickly if I’d just let him Google “screentime and your brain.”) It’s also hard to imagine figuring out what summer is all about if it’s not about countless hours spent side-by-side with friends and family. Do we have to unlearn what we’ve come to know and love so well about the season ahead, or can we adapt?
As the teachers of FSH will tell you, helping children to grow, adapt, and develop a growth mindset is as much about unlearning as it is about learning. In our classrooms, the time we take to teach kids about the value of making mistakes is time well spent--their growth depends upon unlearning the importance of always being right or the fear of occasionally being wrong. On the playground, as well as in math class and music class, FSH students learn to see things with fresh eyes and problem-solve in new ways. The weeks and months ahead continue to demand that we all adapt to a different way of being in the world. As challenging as it seems, though, your kids, as well as my own, give me hope. After all, they’ve learned not to throw fruit and crystal paperweights while still having plenty of fun.