Joi Ito says that “Education is what people do to you and learning is what you do to yourself” and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything that resonated with me as much as that one sentence. Questioning, thinking, debating, analyzing are all things that our kids are forgetting how to do. Some students in my room do not ever ask a question or think out loud. I don’t think it’s a problem of not wanting to but more of a not sure how to. What are we doing to encourage this? Prevent this from happening? Our kids are taught standardized tests. Told what they need to know in a plethora of ways, how to get there upside and backwards, and not much else. There’s no real life connection, no pull towards something greater. If they had to dig for what they needed, would they be successful? I think not. I think we have molded our kids to take what we give them, far beyond what they actually need, and that doesn’t change. Would my classroom look or feel different if I changed paths and taught them to find what they needed? Taught them to quit adding to a pile of unnecessary information and instead focus on necessity?
Am I flexible enough to fully emerge myself in that type of teaching? I’m positive that would not be an easy transition. I would love to find a happy balance that allows my students to become more innovative and independent in their learning. The amount of growth I have seen this year just allowing the tiniest bit of choice assures me that our kids would do great things given the opportunity to have more say in their education.