Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What KIDS want to see in schools

The other day Will Richardson wrote about a town in the UK whose solution to HS Reform was to close the high schools and open learning centers instead. This provoked a lively discussion as David Warlick reflected on what would become of his daughter who is seeking to become a history teacher.

I have very strong feelings about this...I didn't go into education because of the summers off. As a matter of fact, the amount of time I spend reflecting on practice, professional personal development, creating workshops....I have very little time off at all. I am in education because I am a lifelong learner. Marcie Hull has a great reaction as well...we need to focus on the kids and not the bottom line. I value the learning PROCESS... not the learning CONTENT. I want my own kids to learn by doing not by my telling them. And so I replied to David's post...
... As an elementary teacher and technology integrator I have had student teachers for as long as I can remember and it infuriates me that they step into my classroom, take one look at the smartboard and say "cool, I have never seen anything like that..." Even in Elementary schools when we are supposed to be differentiating preservice teachers are not taught to use tech tools to collect data, and use data to differentiate. They all use myspace and facebook (and most of them have seen kids use webkinz and club penguin) and don't see the tremendous power these tools can have in engaging the kids they are teaching. If anything they take a technology elective and learn to make powerpoints for their Open House presentation. Edutopia had an interesting article recently about what kids want to see in schools..laptops, bluetooth, cell phones, video cameras...I don't doubt that given the opportunity to create relevant learning experiences for themselves, they would. Think of the inquiry in elementary kids when they have the opportunity to really explore something hands on. Curt, I think many teachers teach as they have been taught because they were the kids that were good at "playing school" when they were in school. However, I don't think we can look at this and say until...until the Universities begin to have the discussions, until the teachers learn the skills themselves, until their is a tech literacy curriculum in place, until....this is a systemic problem and at somepoint in time it has to change. I think the thing that would impact the success is the amount of collaboration time, professional development that is given to the teachers. Would your daughter get a job in a learning center...would she keep the job...? If she was willing to be a lifelong learner herself, no doubt she would. As a lifelong learner myself, I LOVE the idea of learning centers and will surely be keeping close tabs. Thanks for another thought provoking discussion.

Gregg Farr had probably one of the most thought provoking call out to educational leaders on LeaderTalk today. So I can't help but think...what will it take for use to give kids what they want...what they NEED to be successful learners in the 21st Century? I ask not just out of curiosity for the future of my career....but for the future of my own 3 children....what will it take?

1 comment:

  1. I've been driving all day so my thoughtful comment will come later. For now, I will say this - when teachers start to do in their own learning what they should be doing with students in their learning, we will start to be successful.
    Teachers have to unlearn before they can help kids unlearn.