Beginning on March 23rd, I will be leading a discussion with teachers and administrators in my district about ourselves and our professions, but most importantly, about our students and how they learn. What I want to know is this: are we teaching with their learning in mind?
Here is the description I gave for the workshop:
In this conversation we will examine our goals as educators in the face of a rapidly changing climate in American education. We’ll look closely at the shifts that need to occur in our profession and the very question of what it means to be well-educated today. Each group will meet three times: one online session, and two face-to-face sessions.
• Who are the students you want leaving your classroom every day?
• What do you hope they know how to do with that they’ve learned?
• What do you hope they care about?
School should be less about preparation for life and more about life itself.
We must connect our students with information, people and real world contexts that will inspire and engage them throughout their curriculum.
We teach a subject not to produce little living libraries on that subject, but rather to get a student to think mathematically for himself, to consider matters as an historian does, to take part in the process of knowledge-getting. Knowledge is a process, not a product.
When our students know how to evaluate media and make sense of its complex messages, they are better able to use it as information for learning.
Our rapidly changing society, both nationally and globally, demands a change in the way we view education and the teaching profession.
This idea was originally inspired and adapted from Jeff Plaman’s LrNing site where he has gathered international educators from around the world to participate in an online class centered around the movements and changes that our students and the profession of teaching is undergoing. I asked him if I could modify it slightly for my district and he was all for it.
In looking at television lately, I caught this commercial, or should I say, it caught me:
I look at that and I contrast it with Doyle’s recent post regarding his school’s motto: “Learn to Live.” Are we teaching our students to live? Are we teaching them the skills to be wise? Do they have the moral skill to know when to make the exception to the rule?
Oh, I worry some time that we get bogged down in the minutiae of this standard and that standard, and this score and that score, and we forsake the true goals of education: learning to live well.