I always find it interesting to look at the Instagram #BestNine collages that people start sharing in December. What posts make it into the Best Nine, and what ones do not? Every year, I’m a little surprised by my collection. I don’t have a separate personal and professional Instagram account, and almost all of my posts showcase learning in the classroom. That said, my Best Nine rarely include these classroom posts, and for the ones that are included, they are almost always the ones that show the final product instead of the process of learning.
As educators, we speak often about the value in the process. It’s not always about what’s produced, but what children thought and learned along the way. I think that this is really important, as does my teaching partner, Paula. We actually spend the majority of our time discussing the process.
- What have we observed?
- What have we heard?
- Where does the interest really lie?
- If something is not working, why might that be? What could we try instead?
- How can we better support growing interests?
- What is each child’s next step? How can we facilitate this learning?
- What materials might we include next? How will this change the learning?
Both of us are rarely concerned about the final product. At times, we’re hoping to produce something beautiful, such as these paintings that students created together for our June Art Auction.
That said, we were as committed to documenting the process of these creations, as we were to capturing the final products … maybe even more so.
I’m not a huge Pinterest user, but I do look at Instagram posts regularly for ideas. I like some inspiration. Paula and I both do this. When I just see the final products though, I wonder about the messy wonderfulness that helped get students to this point.
- How did they start?
- What problems did they have along the way?
- How did they solve them?
- What changes did the educator team make to the learning space during this project? What impact did these changes have on the final outcome?
- What did the educator team learn from this experience?
- What changes might they make if they were to do something similar again?
A photograph or video of the final product rarely answers these questions or provides insight into the process. Thinking about my Best Nine though, and the likes and feedback that I get on my regular Instagram posts, I wonder if the final product may matter even more than we say. Do people want to see problems or do they want to see perfection? In the days of Pinterest, maybe there’s a bigger push for the beautiful photographs versus the messy process. Are there more people out there, like me, that wonder about what’s not shared? With all of the pretty pictures being posted, are many of us reluctant to share the less pretty ones? On this Snow/Rain/Ice Day, I can’t help but do a little thinking about what people share online and what they don’t. Have others also been wondering?