January 2, 2023
By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President of Center for Inspired Teaching
Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students.
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Happy New Year!
For many of us, the New Year is a time when we make resolutions – promises or commitments to ourselves or to others toward positive change. The word resolve means determination to get something done, and that’s an important goal for all of us to take into the New Year.
But if you add a beautiful hyphen, the word resolve becomes re-solve, and that means to solve something again. And the word resolution becomes re-solution, meaning another, or different, solution.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the benefits of stepping away from a problem or puzzle, and returning to it with fresh eyes. As we embark on this new year and prepare to return to schools and classrooms, what problems might benefit from re-solving?
Put another way, are there problems that you have “solved” that might benefit from another look or a different solution?
Perhaps you solved the problem of teaching your lesson on photosynthesis or FDR’s New Deal by designing the perfect PowerPoint or finding the best YouTube video. How might you re-solve that problem by redesigning the lesson to make it more student-centered, or even student-led?
Perhaps there’s a person who holds a viewpoint with which you disagree. Maybe you’ve solved that problem by minimizing contact with that person, or avoiding them altogether. What might be the benefits of re-solving that problem by deciding, for instance, to spark up a conversation with that person, not for the purpose of changing your views, or theirs, but from a place of curiosity about what makes them think and feel and act the way they do?
Maybe there’s a student who often engages in unwanted behavior, and you have solved that problem in a punitive way. What if you make an attempt at re-solving the problem in the new year by trying to figure out what unmet needs that student might be expressing, and striving to address those needs?
What problems might you and your students work on re-solving together? What if you offered students the opportunity to pick a problem or two they’d like to take a stab at re-solving?
Even the usual New Year’s resolutions like exercising more or eating healthier foods or spending more time with friends can be viewed as the re-solving of problems. Exercise helps re-solve the problem of a sedentary lifestyle; eating healthy foods can re-solve the problem of too much sugar; spending more time with friends is a step toward re-solving the problem of the isolation brought on by social distancing these past few years.
What are your New Year’s re-solutions? We’d love to hear from you here, or on social media using the hashtag #2023InspiredREsolutions.
Wishing you a joyful, meaningful year ahead.
Re-Solution Lesson Plan
Want to give your students practice crafting re-solutions? This Lesson Planning Guide to Re-Solving Problems offers a structure and discussion questions that guide students in thinking through a problem and re-solving it.