Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Tale of Two Classrooms -- Create

This is the eighth in a ten-part series based on the poster: A Tale of Two Classrooms.



       Should school be a place where students (only) do what they are told to do?  Or, should school be a place the encourages and even requires students to think and hypothesize and create?

       When educators get together to talk about the factors that go into determining a course grade, we sometimes refer to some of these factors as "compliance" grades.  These are things such as: completing homework, completing classwork, following the school or classroom rules, and behaving properly.  While these are certainly going to be a part of the school experience for students, is it appropriate that a student's grade should be based on these "compliance" factors?

       Learning doesn't occur when teachers tell students exactly what to do and what to say.  Learning occurs when students are reminded of past lessons followed by additional information (or "content") and then students are given the task to put these two experiences together to make sense of them.  Learning is demonstrated when students can explain their thinking either orally or in writing (preferably both ways), when students ask questions about the new content, and/or when students take in the new content and find ways to use it to create something new.  The learning process may involve some level of compliance, but compliance alone isn't learning.

       In today's classroom, we want students to struggle with questions that can't be answered with a single word or in a very brief period of time.  We want students to go back to their notes, or the book, or the online resource to recall something they were taught yesterday or last week and to use that information to connect to what they are being asked to understand today.  We want students to understand this process for making connections and extending beyond what the teacher says.  We want students to imagine bigger, to think bigger, and to create bigger.

       The classroom isn't just a place to follow rules.  The classroom should be a place of thinking and talking and reasoning and arguing and offering solutions.  The classroom should be a place of "new" everyday.

Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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