Several years ago, with my colleague Rich Cardillo we met with several Queens, New York elementary school students asking them to share what happens in their school and classroom to support their learning. One of the students shared that she “really needs time to think and then finish my work.” Several other students shared that they also preferred time to think about their assignments and then time to complete the work.
In another school, again with Rich Cardillo, we engaged students in a very interactive lesson on “perspective taking.” Each student actively participated in parts of the lesson from remembering fairy tails to considering different perspectives to implications for their learning and lives. As Rich completed the lesson activities a teacher entered the room and placed sets of resources on each desk declaring “it is now time to focus on test preparation.” Students expressed frustration not being allowed time to consider perspective taking more deeply.
Later I talked to a high school student who shared with me that she thinks what is missing in schools is “time to ponder.” She was frustrated that a lot of information is provided to students but not enough time to thoughtfully consider it.
Given these three experiences, I think it important that in schools and in life we recognize that each of us needs sufficient time to deeply consider, weigh carefully and consider thoughtfully new information that comes our way.
I acknowledge the world moves at an increasing speed and “instant” too often replaces “time to think” however we may miss the implications of information and interactions if we rush through a class or another social situation.
I encourage us all to create space in our lives, even when this is a challenge as the students find in their classes and schools, to ponder and consider implications from new information and interactions. And then to create such a space for students to deeply consider what they are learning, how it connects to other lessons, what enhanced and new knowledge they acquire and what skills they are developing from the opportunity to ponder.