Friday, December 10, 2010

C4T #3 Summary Post

My C4T#3, Michael Kaechele-concrete artist turned middle school technology teacher, posted about the effect that the book the Alchemist had on him.  He posed the question, "do we leave enough room for pursuing dreams and passions within the school atmosphere?" He said the school systems are too busy trying to meet standards and cover the curriculum to leave any room for this.  He enjoyed the book because it reminded him of a favorite memoir of his The Education of a Wandering Man, and the fact that they both learned the same way-through life experiences, not through a book.  He then asked How can we create a climate that encourages students to dream and pursue passions rather than "interfere with their education?"
I then told him that I think the fact that school sometimes gets in the way of people pursuing their dreams, is one of the biggest problems with our school system. Many of my family members (who are teachers) warned me about the fact someone like me wouldn't do well in an environment where there is no freedom. Although it may be difficult, I plan on trying to fit in as much freedom, adventure, and creativity into my "lesson" as possible. What else are students there for anyway? The quadratic formula is great, if you're in a profession that uses it on a daily basis. But I think that life lessons, and the motivation to continue learning, and curiosity for life will better prepare the student for the future.
In his post Real Reform Goes Backwards, Michael blogs about the fact how ridiculous it is that most people's idea of "fixing the problem" in the public school system is to hire big wigs, that don't even care about the students, to come in and weed out all the bad teachers, so they can hire new teachers who will work for lower wages.  He said on top of that their bright idea is to just put the student in the proper machine (program) and out they pop at the end- educated (able to pass standardized tests).  He thinks real reform starts by going backwards to a "classic" liberal arts education.  Students should have a relationship with their teachers, not with bubbling in sheets.  They should learn by asking questions, and life itself should be a learning journey.  They need to be learning how to solve real life problems and how to think critically.  "Students should engage in real questions and work for real solutions. We should use hammers, nails, wood, computers, dirt, flowers, paper, cell phones, microscopes, cameras, and animals. Students should perform labs where the teacher does not know the answer. Students should study current events and then research the history to understand why things are as they are now. Students should use math to calculate solutions to world poverty, lack of clean water, and adequate food."  Teachers shouldn't recite a book in front of the class, they should learn with them, guide them.
I said I completely agree! Standardized testing is not the answer! I've actually been contemplating the all semester-what is the best way to weed out the bad teachers? I'd like to think that they are all good, but I was just in the public school system a few years ago and I can only name about 4 out of the 30 I had that were decent teachers. The biggest problem I had when I got to college was the fact that there were no multiple choice tests. I went to a liberal arts school and they stressed the importance of critical thinking every single day in ever single class. You reminded me of a video of Sir Ken Robinson's I watched not too long ago, he said the fact that students are taught in batches is ridiculous. Is the most important thing I should have in common with my educational peers be my date of manufacturing?  
"Students should engage in real questions and work for real solutions...... Students should use math to calculate solutions to world poverty, lack of clean water, and adequate food. "  I
 have never thought about it like this, but its brilliant. It's so simple I don't see how we haven't implemented it yet. People talk about making a difference, well if our students would learn something more than an equation and how to plug n some numbers and chug out a solution and then bubble in the correct answer, we might actually be able to make a difference. My biggest goal is to motivate my students to be inquisitive. Hopefully I will be able to fulfill this goal to the best of my ability. 

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