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.
Don’t you dare tell me that it is illegal for teachers to strike. One thing I learned working in civilized countries, like Australia, is that there is no such thing as an illegal strike. It is a basic human right to withhold one’s labor, otherwise we are slaves.
Ask participants to take off their teacher hats
and put on their learner hats!
Expect the impossible, and your students will
Whimsy, beauty, playfulness, and mystery are
powerful contexts for learning.
Focus on powerful ideas, not step-by-step
Offer maximum choice in projects and processes.
Establish an absence of coercion. Operate under
the assumption that your students want to be
there. “Nothing beautiful can ever be forced.”
Supply sufficient materials and time, quality
work takes time and you don’t want people
waiting around for materials.
Papert teaches us that the best learning results
from hard fun.
Less us, more them. Provide a minute or two of
instruction, suggest a prompt or challenge, and
then shut up. The more agency one can bestow
upon learners, the more they will accomplish.