Removing the Limits on Learning

Kristen NanBlog, Innovate Better, Mastery Done Better

Removing The Limits On Learning

Guest post by: Kristen Nan

I was in conversation the other day when someone mentioned to me that the sky’s the limit for my child’s learning.  I immediately gasped… felt a bit sick to be honest. Obviously my perception was different than theirs as they stood smiling while I looked like I needed the closest restroom.  Why on earth do we still use that saying in education? It has been used to portray that there is no limit… that anything is possible in life, but does it really convey that to students about their learning?

The minute I hear the word “limit” my mind closes up.  I feel restraints. The limit put on speed going down the highway.  The limit on what one can afford to spend. The limit on how much one can make at their job.  The limit to which the school day has to offer. The limit to which a teacher chooses to create opportunities.  The limit a grade puts on a child’s learning.

So let’s look at the definition of limit in the Webster’s Dictionary:

-something that bounds, restrains, or confines

-geographic or political boundary


The Sky’s the Limit

In the Webster’s Dictionary it is defined as such:

-You can achieve anything if you really want to.

Really?  If you really want to?  Ummm… more like if given the opportunity!

To me, limiting ourselves with the sky is closing our minds to possibility!  I want my students to see beyond… the wonder that exists somewhere beyond the confinements of my knowledge.  Quite frankly it was scary, and down right unsettling, that my students once thought I knew everything… that I was the answer AND the question.  As if I held their education in the palm of my hand.  That doesn’t mean that I lacked confidence or felt incompetent.  It means I do not feel that education revolves around me.

I am but a resource, an imperfect resource equipped to expand opportunity for every child’s mind.  To go beyond their own personal limit to which they have created.

What scares me even more than my students thinking that I am the all be it, is to know that some teachers feel they actually are just that in the classroom.  The educators that believe in one voice… their own. What about my innovative students’ voices?  The ones that have now found their voice and are empowered to use it through their own strengths and passions to create a better learning environment.  What is the next step for them?  Will they be given opportunity in the next limited sky of learning?  How high is their sky… is there a limit? #truth #uncomfortable #HowWillYouRespond

I am but a resource, an imperfect resource equipped to expand opportunity for every child's mind. To go beyond their own personal limit to which they have created. Click To Tweet

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Before I have to hear about assessments and test scores that drive funding and therefor limit teachers to that isolated focus, let me be clear… this has absolutely nothing to do with standards, skills, graduation requirements, or anything else one may rebuttal to reassure their close-minded practice.  This is about removing the boundaries to learning. The isolated, self-contained class that only learns from you!

What does unlimited learning really look like?  Ask my students… I did!

“Choice in how I show Mrs. Nan that I know the skill I am learning.”

“I just remember the I in T.R.U.E G.R.I.T. so that Imagine Excellence over Perfection!”

“I can write a blog, make a movie, create on scratch, or design what I know in place of taking a test on paper.”

“Technology is always an option.”

“With the 30 Second Pitch I get to decide how to show my learning”

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Many educators are in an upheaval over technology in the classroom… saying that it is limiting learning and growth. The very innovative practices that allow us to have a small glimpse into the professions that may exist when our students graduate are being questioned.

Let’s remember that technology is a tool, a resource… it is all in how we use it that creates innovative learning and practices.

Humbling truthjust like technology, we are a resource, an asset to be drawn on.   

Is your sky the limit or are you an unlimited resource?


About Kristen Nan

Kristen Nan - Educator, blogger, thought leaderLife is about choices… CHOOSE POSITIVE! After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education (with an emphasis in Emotional Support) Kristen Nan started her career in Learning Support then moved into the regular classroom teaching 3rd grade at Hopewell Elementary, HASD, in Aliquippa, PA for the last 21 years. She is a dreamer…an optimist… a disruptor in education! Her mantra is empowerment at all ages. Kristen believes empowering students to make decisions builds strong character. She instills this with T.R.U.E G.R.I.T. Kristen was most recently awarded 2017 Week 1 Steeler Chevron Leader in the Classroom for innovative practices.

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