Saturday, July 01, 2006

What did you steal from your students today?

  Painting by NZ artist Jan Nigro. Posted by Picasa Many of you will have worked with John Edwards an Australian educator who works both in schools and in the business area. I came across an article he wrote about education for the gifted and talented impressed me and so I thought I would share a few of has ideas.

The thoughts below were inspired by John’s wife asking him, ‘what did you steal from your students today?’ He and his wife then sat down and wrote the following. I have only selected a few of their thoughts but you will get the meassge.

‘If where we go is always the decision of the curriculum or my curiosity and not theirs.
If I always decide on the topic to be studied, the problem to be worked on.
How will they ever know how to begin?

If I am the one who is always monitoring progress.
If bells and I are always in control of the pace and the flow
How will they learn to continue their own work?

If all the marking and editing is done by me
If the selection of work to be published or evaluated is made by me
If they do not have language of self assessment.
How will they find ownership, direction and delight in what they do?

If I speak of individuals but present learning as if they are all the same
If we do not take opportunity to think about our thinking.
If I never openly respect their thoughts.
If I never let them persevere with something really difficult.
If there is no time to explore.
How will they get to know themselves as thinkers?

If the never help anyone else.
If we do not teach them the skills of working cooperativelity.
How will they learn to work with others?

For if they
Have never experiences being challenged in a safe environment.
Have had all their creative thoughts explained away
Are unaware of what catches their interest and how then to have confidence in that interest
Have never followed something they are passionate about to a satisfying conclusion.
Have not clarified how they sabotage their own learning.
Are afraid to ask help and do not know who to ask.
Have not experienced at overcoming their own inertia.
Are paralyzed by the need to know everything before writing or acting.
Have never got bogged down.
Have never failed.
Have always played it safe.
How will the ever know who they are?

So what are you stealing from your students?

I guess the real question is, what do we want our students to leave with so they can continue their learning journey? We need to discuss this with out colleagues.

I think the answers lie in the above thoughts.

The implication for teachers ( not just for those who teach the gifted and talented) is that. ‘Schools and curricula need to be redesigned so that teachers and their students can genuinely rediscover the joy of learning.

Perhaps this is what the new ‘buzz word’ personalization really means?


Anonymous said...

Excellent thoughts from John Edwards - and as well he gives us ideas to ensure we don't steal from our chidren.

Anonymous said...

Education ought to be process where students discover who they are - not how well they do in an imposed culture. Too many students end up at school not learning how to do their own thing.

Bruce Hammonds said...

Schooling is certaintly not good for lots of students -it is amazing the number of creative people who were seen as failures by their schools. At least they got over it - too many kids don't! I really enjoyed John Edwards' thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It is strange that schooling can turn you off learning!

Anonymous said...

This ought to be posted in the front of every teachers planning book!

Anonymous said...