Lets repeat that:
"It's just that unless our children—of all ages—are truly engaged in their learning, most of what they experience during school hours passes over them like the shadow of a cloud, or through them like an undigested seed. They may be present in the classroom, but they are not really there." FriedI was reading this book just as I was turning my focus toward planning my classes for this school year. Quotes like this one I have been repeating like a mantra over and over again and have been trying my best to let it influence every bit of the instructional design process. This seems to be getting more and more difficult to do the more pressure we have to standardize curriculum.
I think this quote applies to teacher professional development as much as it applies to kids:
"unless they view such activities as important, as having meaning in their lives right now, they aren't truly learning."
My children, who are only in first grade and pre-school, are keenly aware of this fact already. They are both doing well in school but they both ask every day to stay home. At home they are constantly learning and learning is an adventure. We have encouraged this and fostered a home learning environment where the girls can deschool. I suppose it is just a matter of time before we decide to just let them stay home and open source their learning, especially if their schooling continues to become more sterile and less full of wonder. Standards are for factories and grades are for produce and they know this, why don't their teachers or the system they (we) are a part of?
But then again, we do refer to naughty children as "bad eggs" or as being "spoiled."
This is a big pet peeve of mine. How often have we heard a teacher complain about or report to a parent at a conference that their child, "Needs to work on following directions." I know, having been working in schools fro twelve years now and having been around teachers all of my life, that I have heard countless teachers say, "Little Johnny is doing pretty well in school but he needs to do a better job of following directions," as if following directions=virtue. When did falling in line and taking someone else's orders become more valued than taking one's own path and taking control of one's own learning? If we need to question all "sacred cows" in education before we can work toward productive change it seems like this is a big one that often gets overlooked. I've never heard anyone complain that we don't reward students enough for rule-breaking or finding creative solutions but we should.
Kind of reminds me of this classic scene from Indiana Jones:
And this is hard to do. And, it can't be scripted.
Think about this last quote next time you are sitting in a professional development session or mandatory training on assessing RIT or MCA II scores or getting yourself deeply engaged with value-added assessments.