Posted Date: 09/01/2021
September 1, 2021— Wolflin Elementary is being recognized by the National Paideia Center as the first Certified Paideia School in the state of Texas. The staff at Wolflin has completed the training and conducts creative thinking seminars among faculty, students and parents. The Paideia Seminar is a method for coaching discussion about complex text while also supporting important social skills that students need to be successful in college or career. Using this method, "text" could include traditional text, a photograph, painting, map or even a math problem.
In the Amarillo ISD’s SchoolWork podcast episode There are no Microwave Solutions to Crockpot Problems, published September 1, 2021, guests Jeremy Spielman and Aryn Erwin share with listeners what Paideia is and the experiences of Paideia seminar participants at Wolflin.
“Paideia is active learning,” said Jeremy Spielman, Assistant Director at the National Paideia Center. “It’s pairing a level of wonderment with a sense of critical thinking to allow there to be that sort of balance of why do we think what we think versus let me share what I hope the right answer is.”
Paideia features the core skills of reading, speaking, listening and writing. Students learn to look at the selected text as more than a story or essay. It can be a photograph, painting, map or even a math problem. With teacher coaching, students receive constant practice in critical thinking and discussion.
Aryn Erwin, a Fourth Grade teacher at Wolflin Elementary, says her students are showing growth in understanding during Paideia seminars in her classroom. “I think a lot of the power that I’ve seen, and the change that I’ve seen in students, is just a stronger grasp on their own thoughts and their own feelings,” Erwin said. “I have seen students go from not being able to converse with each other in an effective way to being able to really break down a piece of text or even just any sort of conversation and get to a greater understanding with each other through that.”
Wolflin elementary students are continuing their learning journey through Paideia seminars. Students are picking up where they left off last school year in the seminar process. Students will read a text, reflect and discuss the text together based on select questions the teacher sets as he or she serves as the facilitator to keep the students’ ideas and discussions flowing.