Is instruction really necessary in schools? Just like that question, today’s conversation will make you think–maybe like you’ve never thought before. We are digging deep into the craft of teaching and what it should involve. The conversation includes our friend, mentor, and educational leader, Gary Stager, who rolls out ambitious and daring initiatives with his teacher training institutes.
Gary’s focus is on the nature of teaching. He says that since the mid-80’s, we have removed the art of teaching from teacher training, and now we have a generation of teachers who don’t know how to teach. Because of this, we need to create a productive context for learning and “bridge the gap.” How is this done? We need good projects instead of “reckless instruction.” Gary believes that deep, meaningful learning is often accompanied by obsession. He focuses on answering the question: How can we create experiences and context in classrooms where kids can discover things they don’t know they love? This is done by implementing good projects that spur creativity, ownership, and relevance.
Nature Based Solutions is an environmental approach that seeks to counter the negative effects of climate change by working with nature.
“I chose not to take the standard options in my business – going to Vegas and singing your great hits, if you’re lucky, or going to hell, which is where Elvis went,” Lennon said. “Walking away is much harder than carrying on.”
This seems in contrast to those like Robyn Williams whose lives are deeply connected to their art. As Cherri Minns describes:
If he wasn’t working, he was a shell of himself. And when he worked, it was like a light bulb was turned on.
Scratch is a graphical programming language and online community where users can program and share interactive media such as stories, games and animations. Whilst it is targeted at 8 to 16 year olds, anyone of any age can write a program in Scratch.
Webmention, like most every IndieWeb technology, hides its light under a bushel of deep obscurity. I discovered IndieWeb three months ago by happenstance, and since then exactly zero of my fellow web-working professionals with whom I’ve brought up the subject had heard of it before that moment. On the one hand, I find this truly fascinating: here is a geographically diverse group of deeply caring technologists who have not just invented but, over most of a decade, refined and iterated tools for a truly democratized web. They have developed them to a point where the web’s core standards body has recognized their merit, and — more to the point — where a jaded lifelong web-engineer like me can so much as glance at them and immediately feel amazed by their coiled-spring potential, suddenly hungry to start working with them myself.
Any intervention in schools, and any implementation of research, involves questions of power. How do we make sure that the most vulnerable have a voice and are not shut down in the name of listening to ‘the research’?
Having taught curriculum theory for many years, my personal view is that I think we need to be careful not to get caught up in curriculum fads that do much to celebrate the notion of transcending so-called ‘siloed disciplines’ in favour of what, in reality, can often be an atmospheric assemblage of dispositions we’re apparently supposed to structure learning around. - Glenn Savage
I can tell you, I’ve worked in some of the most disadvantaged schools in the Western world and when I arrived at work in the morning, the challenges I faced weren’t poor kids with fixed mindsets. Instead, I had poor kids who hadn’t had breakfast, who were shivering because their parents couldn’t afford uniforms, or who were suffering trauma from their time in refugee camps. Mindsets had nothing to do with it.
From an ideological point-of-view, he does not think that approaching the document from only one lens offers much. Instead he offers a number of plausible interpretations to demonstrate the possibilities.
Sam Wineburg has talked about this process as taking bearings, and I like that term a lot. Before trudging blindly into an article, pull out the compass and the map and figure out where you landed. It’s so simple to do, there’s really no excuse for not doing it.