In our blog post, "Teachers Never Have Enough Time: 3 Reasons You Should Prioritize Pressing Pause During Your Instruction", we talked about the importance of pressing pause to ask thinkers about their gut reactions and have them consider what questions they need to ask. This strategy is quick, simple, and powerful. Pressing pause is a vital real-world skill. But we also want to prioritize mandating joy in our classrooms, so here is a way to practice this skill while having fun!
At thinkLaw we like to play a game called “Informed Opinion.”
During our time in education, we’ve all received that email. The email where you can predict the content of the body just from the sender’s name and subject line. The kind of email you do not even want to open. These emails usually pop up at the worst time: a notification on your phone right when you sit down for dinner or when you want to go to bed. How do you respond? When do you respond?
In our article, "Teachers Never Have Enough Time", we explain the power of students Pressing Pause during instruction. But the reality is that the same thinkLaw strategies educators use in their classroom are also powerful for the adults to practice.
Recently I was driving through morning traffic with my two high school freshmen in the vehicle. Morning gab radio was on in the background when a story caught our attention. The DJs were interviewing a woman who claimed to have captured the call of a Bigfoot and the station was about to play the audio. I did what any good parent would do. I turned up the volume and told them to stop talking.
I am not sure what I was expecting, but it was not the sound they played. The call was extremely high pitched, more chihuahua than pit bull.
This small moment was the perfect time to practice a thinkLaw critical thinking strategy on the fly. We pressed pause.
We know that getting all the things on the supply checklist still matters. But in his article for Ed Post, Colin Seale argues that what matters even more is that teachers can collect the checklist of our children’s expertise, superpowers, interests, struggles, and joys.
Think about the last time a student in your class did something completely ridiculous. Now, think about the last time YOU did something completely ridiculous. Whenever these moments come up, the common question we love to ask is, “what were you thinking?” And if we are being honest, the answer is typically, “I wasn’t.” As educators, decision-making is a nonstop process. Our students’ worlds move at an even faster pace. But what if there was an easy-to-use daily instructional practice that built the muscle memory students need to stop and think? This is where “press pause” can be an extremely useful tool for educators.
Consider how it feels when you are driving along smoothly and hit a sudden traffic jam. Or the odd feeling you get when you are in a loud place and the music and noise suddenly disappears. Or even the social anxiety we feel in a conversation when someone pauses in the middle of a thought, even for a few seconds.
In a world that worships productivity, efficiency, and expediency, the idea of Pressing Pause is inherently uncomfortable.
But what if we tried Pressing Pause more often?