Ignore the moaning and groaning

Comic Life You haven’t got it right if they are not moaning and groaning. A challenge is not that easy. I can remember one year teaching my Year 9s how to use Comic Life. It’s great software for student literacy and creativity. Our Macbooks come with it already loaded. Plasq has an interest in the educational use of its software and provides some good support. That year I had taught the Year 9s to use slide presentations, iMovie and other things but students wanted to know how to use Comic Life. One student moaned the whole time and expressed  frustration and annoyance at every opportunity. We persisted. When we are learning new software I run streaming conversations. Everyone has to be talking their tips and what they have learned. We learn out loud so everyone gets a chance to pick up on what they don’t know. I gave her some personal help. Other students helped our head complainer but the moaning and groaning persisted. The student was not happy with the A for the assignment because of having to suffer an intolerable set of lessons. I met this student again in year 11. We were doing another assignment and after I had taught the content and explained the criteria for assessment, I told them they could present it as they wished. It was a story. I looked at what this student was doing and was surprised to see  Comic Life on the MacBook screen.

” I thought you hated Comic Life.”
” Where did you get that idea?”
” All the complaints when I was trying to teach you how to use it in Year 9.”
” It’s a great programme. I am really good at it. We learnt a lot but I didn’t know what I was doing.”
” You didn’t ever say you liked it.”
” Well, I felt lost. The others could use it and I couldn’t. It felt all wrong because I couldn’t do it. I used it for other things, though, and am used to it now. It’s fun and really good. I just needed to play with it myself a bit.”

When they are stumped by difficulties and tough learning , it is not a reason to stop and do something else. If they really don’t understand you have to step in and smooth the way but you have to observe with technology and look at what they are doing and how they are expressing themselves. Moaning and groaning can be a way we express our frustration when we feel swamped but we often moan our way through challenging learning and arrive safely at the next level with all that knowledge and those skills in our toolkit. I don’t take a lot of notice about complaints about how students can’t do something. If I run the open conversations then they invariably will move on and get to the next level of frustration or solve the whole perplexing mess and get some insight. It’s about getting them to the next step. I always make sure they have moved forward either with my help or the help of a class friend.

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