Report from the Field – Jen Schongalla – 2

Alrighty. Here goes. Vid from last year, but whatev. Star of the day interview around this time last year. 2 others from this year coming. Upload takes 4 ever. Student being interviewed is someone who I’d never expected to be in front of the class (context FYI).

I have them unlisted for now bc I only want to share them on the PLC and in my google classroom for students. These are not super helpful (yet) for students but I figured I’d just put them out there.



5 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Jen Schongalla – 2”

  1. I love the mood. Light happiness. Jen is talking about the kids. Not the language. She is working from a questionnaire, as she stated from the Star of the Day format (Sabrina Janzcak from Jody Noble). She could also be working from the Matava questionnaire. She is not working from an image/OWI, etc.

    This is not easy work. Distance and fear are always naturally there. It is her soft way of asking questions that makes this work for Jen. It is so good bc of this light feeling. There is no judgement of the kids, no right answer. She is just asking the kids about themselvess.

    How much planning is going on here? The kids filled out the Star of the Day – there are posts here use the search bar to learn more or it is written up in the Big CI Book – and that was all the prep for jen.

    She is taking what they wrote down seriously. I know from experience that this class loves this but haven’t yet gotten to the point where they can say it. Anyone know what I mean? They totally love this but they are on video, for one thing, but they also are at that age where each interaction with a teacher is going to be cautious. Because they have been hurt by teachers always telling them that there is a “right answer” all the time.

    There is no right answer in this excellent example of non-targeted work. There is only relaxed conversation in a non-threatening way and jen is modeling it beautifully. She is not afraid to use English terms (“show tunes”). This is just fine. The whole thing just feels good, has a relaxed feel for the kids.

    One thing about this kind of non-targeted CI that alway messed me up and why I personally never could do it very well was that I was so focused on myself that I couldn’t just relax and enjoy the kids. I was always too stuck up in my mind. But jen here actually acts interested in the kids. I didn’t say she WAS interested in them, that she ACTS interested. The kids will take it. They will take ANYTHING if it is relaxed and not associated with a teacher trying to make them wrong. You know what I mean.

    I loved watching this video. I would like to be able to relax my way into a soft conversation with my students. It’s tough stuff. Jen makes it look easy.

  2. If any group members make videos for the group/critique, etc. here, besides leaving your ego at the door, do block out the kids. When I made the first Invisibles videos in India I just put tape on the floor and told the kids never to cross the two parallel lines in front and next to where I was standing in front of the room. Tina does the same. Jen does it here. The entire thing with the releases and all is just too silly. And we can see enough in the above format to be able to talk to each other here on the PLC about what we see. Jen thank you for putting yourself out there. You said in the first post this morning that you are sensing that we need to embrace the entire mental health thing more and more and more and I know you are doing that in this video – pointing to a way of teaching that is not all formulaic and therefore limiting, a way of teaching that has a less tight grip on our minds, a way of teaching that has less sad frustration in it. You are pointing to a new way of teaching in this video, one that honors our mental health and the mental health of our students, to be considered as individuals, to have one class where they count a bit more than a speck of dust in a vast testing machine that does not have their best interests at heart. Thanks for keeping it real, jen.

  3. Thank you Jen. Great example of where I am trying to go with my students. I have been using digital prompts for Una Persona Especial, but this way seemed more natural as you just flowed in the conversation. I like how you approach this activity with such a soft, calm voice.

  4. Jen’s style reflects that expression “Never let them see you sweat”. And like all great work that is internally very challenging, we sweat but I can see a day where we actually go in with such confidence in ourselves and in the process of non-targeted CI that we really and authentically do relax. I kind of got there in India w the Invisibles. In our summer workshops Tina had zero fear going on, just a kind of “this is going to be fun” attitude w complete trust in the process. Jen’s not playing around here. She has ingredient #1 for this work – a relaxed, non-rushed attitude. There are all those YouTube videos Tina made and not once in any of them can you see her sweat. She is in charge. The kids feel that and then THEY can relax.

  5. I would add that Tina is an extravert and I am an introvert and we have talked a lot about what that means when presenting. I think introverts just have more fear going on. But if we are going to be teachers, we have to shut all thoughts of introvert and extrovert out of our thinking and do our jobs. Never have I come close to seeing a way of teaching that works better for introverts than the non-targeted plan of the Invisibles.

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