powerful moments in education
Riding home through the scenic mountains of eastern New York, across rural southern Vermont, weaving our way back to the state of New Hampshire, my mind wandered through the windows, over the farms, and into the windows of each passing school. I wanted to read more of Aimee Buckner’s Notebook Connections, draft a blog post on my Netbook, play a game on my iPad…but I
just couldn’t stop the spinning of thoughts in my head. S0, I allowed myself to dissolve these desires in my thinking, my thinking based mostly on the surge of online courses and schools—What a thought-prov0king article from the Life & Culture section of the Wall Street Journal:
Really. Radical? Yes. But—THIS is a rethinking? I was first bothered by the article when I read it on Friday night (thank you, Twitter) and then exhaled when I read a blog post by Will Richardson– a parent, educator, speaker, author, blogger- (thanks again, Twitter). I feared I was supposed to acknowledge, understand, and agree with the idea that this mode of “instruction” was to be embraced in our new world.
Again- a rethinking? Frankly, I find this to be poor word choice, one that was not clearly thought through. Perhaps the same critics of education, ones who criticize teacher lectures are now possibly encouraging….teacher lectures? The only difference, my friends, is the delivery. Whether via the internet or within the same room with living breathing souls, lecture is lecture. Getting “restless and wander[ing] into the kitchen for a snack” in the middle of the lecture is the only difference.
When-WHEN will we as a culture understand that balance, balance, balance is the best practice for teaching, for learning, for life? Sure, the definition of balance may change from person to person, home to home, need to need…but in the end, we all know that too much of anything is a BAD THING.
In trying to understand the changes and progression of education, I searched for an article that might discuss educational trends of the last 50 years. I did find one, but what I initially stumbled upon was this: 10 Educational Trends Impacting School Planning and Design. And again! Here are more words explaining where education is moving based on public trend and desire. But I have to ask, where is the brain based research about what all this online time will do to learners? I know it’s out there- is it just being ignored because this is what our century is like-it’s just ‘what you do’ I guess… This completely reminds me of people complaining about how much Christmas present demands cost but just sighing and doing it because, well, that’s what it is like these days!
People. It is only like this if you allow it to be. Let technology in. Add to to the menu of visual art, music, movement, drama and other modes of learning and THIS will be the desired education of the future. If we allow one mode to rule the progression of education, we are making the same mistake, yet again. In the Educational Trend article, it even goes as far as saying that “an entire school could be custom designed for students with particular learning styles. For instance, visual learners might attend a facility especially designed to support their approach to learning. Or kinesthetic learners could attend a school that affords access to action-based instruction.” Again- really? Segregate learning style for the sake of…success? This eliminates the socialization between humans with a variety of learning styles…which is the real world, I am pretty sure.
Please pay close attention to the variety of opinions circulating about the level of technology use with regards to education. I am completely immersed in using the newest tech tools, toys and apps for myself and my students. However, you better believe we will be sitting in a circle tomorrow morning, like humans, learning to listen, speak, empathize, and question with our peers. You better believe that we will corporately create a visual art piece explore subject matter, experience our vocabulary through movement and drama, and for sure we will access our Smart Board and laptops as well.
A computer as an instructor is only “intuitive” based on the information which it has previously received from its user. A teacher’s intuition can guide instruction based on a simple sigh, glance, or facial expression- seen for the first time that morning.