I came to tears twice listening to this speech. Being a mother of 3 kids, and especially struggling to help my youngest, the 8 year old, get something positive of this system - it is understandable (no?). First time here:
“While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I
sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. …And quite
frankly, now I’m scared.”
“We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down.”
Why yes, I do! And part of the design is that the (extremely green) school would also be a conference space for teachers, a meeting place for people who work in different locations but are collaborators and/or want to learn together. So travel would definitely be a part of things, and you could come here to visit!
The school would be a lab school with historical underpinnings associated with Dewey's Chicago Lab School. Also it would answer the cry by Kurt Fischer to begin research schools, with teachers and researchers actively informing each other. (SO important-- why are we not already doing that widely?!)
It would be a lab school where teachers could come to learn about learning with colleagues they esteem and value. Teachers would be invited to "run lessons" (ie, guide activities) with students; then we'd reflect on how things went, invent new activities, and share out what we're learning with our wider networks. Oh--wouldn't just be teachers in the typical narrow sense. The category could include parents, administrators, all sorts of speakers/guides, creative people, scientists, discipline experts, interdisciplinary experts.
Oh dear, morning dreaming... I could spend all day sharing thoughts and dreams on Fireside. Ok, I've got to get going on cleaning up the physical space of the classroom, my project for today and tomorrow. Hate to leave the quiet farm (especially the pre-dawn quiet) and head into town, but that's what I'll do. How nice it is sitting at the kitchen table writing, the only sound being the pleasant droning of late-summer crickets, a balm for the spirit. Wish I could share a podcast of that sound here, it's so conducive to dreaming. (Could I?)
Surely. If you can capture the sound, you can post an mp3 here (I think!)
I might have to dust off my (theoretical) attendance-rejecting school space dreams: With learners genuinely inspired, aside from the law, I don't see the need to be in attendance in a generic 'box' - I do see the need for specialist and intensive settings - science, manual and dramatic arts, school performance and celebration spaces etc... But for the days when class is likely to be held in a 'box' why not encourage attendance at a virtual box - where the walls are as transparent as the connected digital world . (The main barrier I see is addressing the law for attendance, custodial - nothing essentially educational.)
I am a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University and after gradutaing I accepted a job in Alaska teaching middle school (2 weeks in already!). I am very thankful, and fortunate, that I found a job given our current economical circumstances, in Alaska no less! It is absolutely beautiful here.
I have read John Dewey and John Taylor Gatto works, Daniel Pink's book "Drive", Yong Zhao's book "Catching Up or Leading the Way", Malcolm Gladwell's books, as well as many others and none of them have quenched my thirst...
The main problem I keep coming to is the issue of trust. I believe that our current system is set up in a such a way (on which others here have mentioned) that children are seen as resources. These "resources" are to be taken and molded into whatever shape the "powers that be" deem necessary at the time. This system has no trust that human beings want to flourish, regardless of age or circumstance. The system does not believe the adage that "No one chooses failure."
I believe, as many others do, that when it comes to education the only thing we should do is get out of the way of our children. Do not place demands upon them and do not give them deadlines. Do not put them in a box and do not take away their toys, music, or paint. I believe that if we let them, they will astound us with their curiosity, passion, and genuine love of life. I believe that it is the role of all adults everywhere, not simply "educators", to be there to assist these young minds when they have questions. We should be there when they need advice, materials and resources, or simply an extra hand. I believe that if we trust them and support them we will not be disappointed.
We need to drastically change the way we do things; if there needs to be a specific "way" at all.
Questions, problems, comments? Here is the "Fireside Council" of folks who help Connie with the administration of this site: Anna, Ian, Or-Tal , Ed and Barry. Click on their names to visit their Profile Pages and leave comments for them with your inquiries and ideas! Meanwhile, if you have technical questions or suggestions, Laura will be glad to help.
QUICKIE GUIDE to the FIRESIDE:
The Main Tabs are found along the top of every page: Main: Access the main Fireside page. Invite: Invite others to join the Fireside. My Page: Design your own homepage. People: View Members and Groups. Forum: Check out the discussions! Blogs: It's easy to start blogging. Photos: Upload and share photos. Videos: Upload and share videos.