Friday, February 15, 2008


Today was one of those days. Nothing went as planned. From automatic updates to forgotten login information to phone calls to stressed learners to last minute doers this was a day to survive and not repeat.
We hear much in the media about k-12 learners powering up afterschool. This must be how many keep their sanity. I found myself doing just that to preserve my own tattered mind.
With a cup of hot coffee and my RSS Reader, I blocked out the world for two hours. While listening to a podcast I read subscriptions, checked parent emails, meeboed, & twittered. I can easily understand 'digital natives' doing these things at once.
I was not working in any linear fashion. The brain does not do so either. Our brains actually resemble jungles, with the mass of interconnections between our 20 some billion neurons. Yet teaching in k12 schools continues to be in assembly line fashion. One concept at a time, introduced, taught using a procedure, guided practice, independent practice, and finally homework. All of this in linear fashion on one concept. Oi veh!
Why can't classrooms be places where many things are taught in a nonlinear fashion? Why can't classrooms be places where students are working on many tasks differentiated to their learning styles, not the leader's teaching style? Why can't classrooms be places where everyone is in charge of their own learning and not dependent on any one adult to tell them what to do?
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Seth said...

Sanity, that is such a hard thing to keep. I have to agree that the teaching structure does not fit real life at all. I am a college student and I know that is totally different then high school. In high school I had a very easy schedule, be here at this time, bell rings at the start and end of class, then head to the next class. In college I still have to be at the right place at the right time but added to that I have a huge list of assignments I have to keep straight, when there due and what class they are due for and what the assignment even is. Add work and what small social life I have to college and sanity is gone. You have to find some time off or you will lose it. But like you said our brains don’t do that, they can handle the jumbled up mess of life. It would be fun to try and teach that way but I am not sure if it would work. We are use to guidelines and knowing who is in charge and when to do what. I think if a great system could be made were students could learn on their own and not have to have help for every step it would be a better way in getting them ready for the real life. The idea is great but would students know what to do with all the ides of being lead stuck in their heads or would it become to overwhelming. I think that if a system was made that could do it right it would be worth doing.

Anonymous said...

I was currently observing in a high school classroom for my curriculum and instruction class and the teacher did something that in a way resembles your post. The last 10 minutes of class he said was nap time or he allowed to text message. He said that they needed 10 minutes to unwind from sitting there taking in all that information and give there brain a rest and do something they enjoyed. I thought it was a really good idea, first it give them a break from such a structured day from bell to bell. Also allowing them to text not only brings a source of the newest technology into the classroom but also makes them less likely to do it during class when they have to do it after. I just thought it was interesting how this teacher was trying to bring more “sanity” into the classroom giving the kids a 10 break to unwind at the end of class.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Durff,
I liked your point as to why do educators have to feel as if they just need to "survive" through their school/work days. I agree that we as people do not function to the best of our abilities when things are treated as an assembly line in our lives. It seems that our educational systems could be structured in a different manner that would be more beneficial for students and teachers. I don't think that the issue is that people are not aware that this is an area that needs to be improved upon, but more of, who are the people that we need to be expressing our opinions to? Do we need to voice our opinions and feelings to more people or should we focus our energies on those people that have the more influential roles in the educational systems who can begin to make changes.
What can be our first step in making a change?

Just some food for thought!