The Process of Becoming a CGI Teacher:
Teachers Need Freedom to Construct Their Learning
Just Like Children Do
Teacher 1: So, the first thing that Tom and Eliz talked about today was something that really was significant to me and to Rachel as we were beginning our training in CGI together as partners at an elementary school. And that was what Eliz said about -- just as we don’t tell kids strategies and we don’t tell kids how to solve the problems, CGI training doesn’t tell teachers what to do. And so that provided some frustration and challenges for us, and it was a good process to go through… And so, I think in the beginning that was a real challenge… So, as frustrated as we were with not knowing what to do, not being told what to do—it was kind of a sticky process, it was a good process—it couldn’t have been sped up by someone telling us what to do… We went was we went from saying nothing at all for fear of saying too much… And then slowly we learned when we could interject: how we could ask questions that would facilitate the kids’ thinking without being too directive. And now if you watch us doing interviews with children, we talk as much as the kids do. But it’s in a way that is really responsive to their thinking, and the focus is on their learning, not on our thinking… And so, I think in the beginning that was a real challenge. And it was just like the way that children’s strategies evolve, and I know people are looking at this through a research lens, but how teachers evolve. So, as frustrated as we were with not knowing what to do, not being told what to do—it was kind of a sticky process, it was a good process—it couldn’t have been sped up by someone telling us what to do. We had to go through it…
Teacher 2: It was the experience in the CGI training that I went through was so different than any other learning experience that I’ve ever had. I came from a background where… It was a very directed model of instruction, and I had, even as an adult learner, been in very few situations where people were really interested in what my thinking was and my own construction of knowledge. So, what they were talking about today, about how that was such an important piece to the development of CGI was putting the learning in the hands of the teachers, that was really—I won’t say it was the first time—but it was probably the most monumental time that that happened for me in my life and probably the time that I …learned something the deepest.