July 11, 2010
In a guest post on the The Innovative Educator blog entitled Class size matters only when the teacher does everything, Mark Prensky describes his work helping to integrate technology in elementary and middle school classrooms in New York City schools. During this experience his best idea was to “require that all my students, whenever they had ‘idle’ time . . . spend that time focused on increasing their expertise about whatever their passion was.”
But my final conclusion is this: As we continue to struggle with introducing more and more technology, it is also extremely important that we train our students to self-direct their own learning, so that they can continually make learning progress, whether or not everything—the technology, the teacher, the weather, or anything else in their life—works perfectly that day. That is why knowing how to continually learn about their own passion is so important.
When all our kids are taught to do this, and actually start putting it into practice, I believe our schools will have made enormous progress.
June 29, 2010
More Clay Burell in a blog post about America’s disdain for teachers:
Somebody said “A person ages into the face he deserves.” The same is true of a civilization. If America has aged into a face of illiteracy, innumeracy, historical, geographic, and scientific ignorance, it’s no mystery why.
According to Burell, teachers are respected in Asia.
June 24, 2010
Clay Burell, Beyond School, on the teaching profession:
“All of the forces in modern culture commanding we not eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and instead obey the dictates of money-grubbing, we teachers disobeyed. We chose the apple over the greenback, love over lucre, and Mammon be damned. And if we really love the forbidden fruit we’ve been sentenced to teach, our sin was our salvation. It’s a blessing to be paid to love.”
June 9, 2010
June 5, 2010
Love this guy!
He speaks of a “crisis of human resources” that parallels the climate crisis. Here’s just a tidbit:
“Education, in a way, dislocates very many people from their natural talents. And human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them. They’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves. And, you might imagine education would be the way that happens; but too often, it’s not.”
Why is this, you ask? Robinson proposes:
“We have built ourselves into a fast food model of education. And it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.”
That’s all well and good, but does he offer a solution? Well, sort of. He provides a hypothesis but leaves the implementation to individual schools . . . He suggests we change metaphors. Transform from an industrial model of education to one based on principles of agriculture.
“We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process. And, you cannot predict the outcome of human development; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”
Hmmm, this 16-minute video is fast food for thought.
May 22, 2010
May 4, 2010
When I read certain blog posts, I often have “nailonthehead” moments. This means, of course, that as I’m reading, I’m shaking my head vigorously up and down, muttering under my breath, “Yes! Exactly! You hit the Nail. On. The. Head!”
Here’s one from Assorted Stuff:
If we assume, as the report notes, “a growing body of evidence suggests that teachers are the single most important school-based influence on children’s learning” then the issue of how to recruit, train, and keep good teachers should be at the core of any education reform program.
But it’s not.
Here in the US we spend far more time, money, and effort on standardized testing (plus all the penalties that result when kids don’t get high enough scores), narrowing and scripting the curriculum, and basically preserving the educational status quo, than we do on improving the quality of teaching.
We certainly don’t provide nearly enough training and support for teachers once they are in the classroom.
It’s as if our current educational system is a company that puts almost all it’s efforts into inspecting products and very little into the process of designing and building a quality product in the first place.*
*I hate business analogies applied to education but this one fits!
April 20, 2010
“If institutional education refuses to adapt to the landscape of the information age, it WILL die, and it SHOULD die.”
Not without a fight, it seems.
April 14, 2010
Every year I look forward to the “Owl Lady” visiting our school, but this year was super special. After watching The Owl Box for almost a month now I have come to really love these amazing creatures. I’m even, sort of, getting used to their carnivoristic (that’s not a word!) eating habits.
Look at me making faces at the little screech owl!
During the Eyes On Owls presentation for our fifth graders, I had the honor of working “whitewash” patrol!
I even got to hold a PELLET!