I was thinking about the phrase, "It's just a phase" the other day after watching someone say it on a show I was watching. The phrase is funny to me. It is said as if it is not a big deal, but I think that is wrong. I think going through a phase is a big deal and we should encourage students and adults to go through them. Follow me on my logic here,
A phase is a time where a child is trying something new. This could be a new style of clothing or possibly a new type of music (90's Swing Music anyone?). They will explore this new identity or hobby and claim it is who they are now. Instead of telling kids they are wrong or they will grow out of it, I think it should be encouraged. Exploring and trying new things is not easy. This is something that should be supported because you will never know what you love or don't without experimentation. If you have taught long enough, you have seen students evolve over the years because they try on many different hats. It is a fun conversation to have with them when they get older because they, like many of us, are embarrassed by their phases. I have some great pictures of me with tremendous 90210 inspired sideburns. We shouldn't be embarrassed. We should be proud that we tried something out that made us happy at the time.
As teachers, I think it is easy to dismiss new pedagogical approaches as fads or just a phase another teacher is going through at the moment. There are plenty of things I have tried that I no longer do. I'm not embarrassed but them. I use them as points of growth along my educational journey. They are examples of where I have tried something to better support my students. I either do it because it is great, don't do it because there is something better, or I don't do it because it does not work how I want it to. Not matter the reason, I tried it for myself and I'm glad I tried it.
The next time you think that someone is just going through a phase, also think about how you can cheer them on as they explore something new.
Hugs and High Fives,