Monday, April 17, 2006


Molly shares some thoughts:
Every teacher should take a lesson from a mentor. My mentor is my archery instructor. I've known him since I was seven. The reason we get along so well is that from the moment he met me, he respected me. He was the first and only adult I could ever really talk to about real things. I could talk to him about my ideas, and he would listen as if there were some minute chance that I could have a legitimate thought in my head. And even better, he would tell me the truth. He didn't sugar-coat things for me. He realized that even though I'm young, I can understand the full depth of things. That's a real teacher.
So does David Warlick:
Traditional education has been an environment of hills. The teacher could rely on gravity to support the flow of curriculum down to the learners. But as much as we might like to pretend, we (teachers) are no longer on top of the hill. The hill is practically gone.

For the first time in history, children are more comfortable, knowledgeable, and literate than their parents about an innovation central to society. (Tapscot)

In many cases, students communicate more, construct original content more, and more often collaborate virtually with other people, than do their teachers. Those teachers who pretend to stand on higher ground, appear, to many of their students, to be standing on quicksand.

I'm not completely sure why these two posts seem connected to me, but they do. I guess it's the idea of respect - both for the student as human being and for the student as contributor/producer/participator. I believe that the skills our students need to be successful in the "flat world" of the 21st century are often different than what we are currently teaching. But more importantly, I also believe an educational system that doesn't respect its students, doesn't involve its students, doesn't require its students to fully participate in their own education - is a system that's doomed to fail.

Given the realities of standards and NCLB, of traditional community expectations and parent complaints, of funding and inertia- how do we get from here to there?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, it was a bit surprising to have my name pop up on the top of the fischbowl page. Anyway, I would agree that the a system that merely forces education upon students without involving them is bound to fail. It almost reminds me of a bunch of dogs trying to be trained. Sometimes the dogs don't see the point of jumping through hoops until they see the liver treat across the room.
    Really, I think that the blogging and constructivism movements are really making significant steps toward the goals mentioned in the post. And even with funding and parental restraints, and as much as I despise those constraints, they really aren't what's holding us back. I think that the key to education is good teachers, and we're making very good progress.