Product vs Process

I often write about the learning that happens in my class, but I rarely mention the learning that goes on in my home. My son, who is 3, continually amazes me and teaches me new things about teaching, learning, and knowing. Many of the lessons I learn from him, I am able to apply to the class, and vice versa.

Today, he colored a picture and it got me thinking about the process versus the product. Anyone who looks at this picture will think that he scribbled entire page in pink with no regard to lines or the whole picture. They would assume that this is not a thoughtful work of art with little to no cognitive thought behind it. They would be wrong.

During the process of coloring this photo, he painstakingly took his time on each component of the picture. The eyes, the windows on the train, the leaves on the trees. He narrated what he was coloring and created a story of how the pandas were learning to drive the train (well, he said it was a truck). Each piece of the whole picture was done individually. It was just all done in the same color, and the final product gives the illusion of messiness. Looking at the white bar at the bottom of the page, we see that he did not color that part in, because that is where he wanted to sign his name, T. There are clues to thoughtfulness, but you have to look closely to see them, because you were not part if the process.

Thinking about my class, I need to remind myself to be more aware, to see what is happening and to watch the entire process unfold. If I miss parts, I will miss thinking, and it will just look a pink page. These are all ideas that I already know, nothing is new with what I am saying. Yet, sometimes I need a reminder to keep me alert and mindful.



  1. movingmrkozak18.9.12

    Dear Craig,

    I have been thinking about this same problem for quite a while and try to get ideas from interviews and journals, but will also be trying for this same purpose. I hope to post their work on voicethread and then they can tell the world about their thinking and comment on others.




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