I was recently challenged by Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca). Aviva knows that I have a hard time turning down a challenge, especially one that makes me think and reflect. So here we are. Donna Fry (@fryed) initially issued the call. She had requested:
“Please join us. When it comes to education, what are 5 things that we have to stop pretending? Post on your blog, tag 5 others, and share using the #makeschooldifferent hashtag.”
When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that we have all the answers. Education has evolved past the google-able knowledge-based learning. Even Siri doesn’t have all the answers we need now to be educators or for our students to be learners. Thinking through the tough questions is more interesting/challenging/stretching/engaging than quick easy answers anyway.
When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that time is a barrier. It’s not a barrier, it is just an easy excuse. Time is a constant (well, kind of) in the sense that it is a finite resource and always will be. We are all busy. We all have too much to do. You have to make the hard choices about what is the best way to use that time.
When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that things are good enough. Celebrate the good, for sure. But don’t stand still. Progress doesn’t work if you don’t move forward.
When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that the learning comes first. Now listen, I love curriculum as much as the next guy (probably more than most. I know good chunks of it without opening it anymore. It’s really quite annoying to others, actually). You may have the most stupendous drama lesson, or way to teach fractions or strategy to get every kid to read and write but I would argue that there is something far more important than the learning within educators’ realm of responsibility. The learner HAS to come before the learning. One size does not fit all. One starting point does not work for everyone. Setting the conditions for learning has to have some degree of personalization. We teach kids not curriculum.
When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that the best way to measure learning is with a mark. I know we are stuck with evaluation reporting that requires marks. But I hope every educator finds so many more ways to measure a student’s learning. And I hope every student and parent know how much more a student is than a sum of his/her marks.
So those are my five thoughts for the day.
The second part of the challenge was to nominate 5 people to also take up the challenge. I decided to challenge 5 HWDSB bloggers that I know. Some are teachers, others are administrators. All can definitely teach me a thing or two.
Enzo Ciardelli (@ECiardelli)
Adele Stanfield (@adeletweets)
Lisa Neale (@lisaneale)
Susan Bosher (@SusanBosher)
Jared Bennett (@mrjarbenne)
An old band from many years ago called The Platters once had a song called The Great Pretender. The first verse went like this:
Oh-oh, yes I’m the great pretender
Pretending that I’m doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I’m lonely but no one can tell
The Platters – The Great Pretender Lyrics | (MetroLyrics)
Education should be an area where we aren’t lonely in our ideas. We need collaborative partners. We need a community of learners. Join us while we stop pretending and open our minds to changing our thinking together.