Sunday, May 17, 2015

Different Colors in A Rainbow #MakeSchoolDifferent

The eloquent @mrsvannasdall has kindly challenged me to blog about 5 things we need to "Stop Pretending" in education.  Let's make school different!

Let's stop pretending that students learn best when they quietly follow directions. Instead, let's encourage them to be advocates for themselves and tell/show us how they learn best so we can cater to that.

Let's stop pretending that we are deliverers of content alone. Have you heard of a ground-breaking researcher, a great mathematician, or an eye-opening scientist who can't solve any real world problems and cannot explain their findings to the general public? Instead, let's have students identify existing problems and solve them using content. Then let's have them share their success or failure with the world.

Let's stop pretending that classroom management is about scaring the kids into compliance. Classroom management is about connections. Do you remember forgiving that teacher when she was cranky that one day? Sure, you could have thrown a fit since you know she was clearly in the wrong. But you decided to be a big kid at heart. But why did you do that? Wasn't it because you have a connection with the teacher? It's okay to be human. Let's show students that we value them more for their curiosity, hard work, and relationship skills than their grades, especially if they are failing a class.. or two... or six.

Let's stop pretending parents and students of poverty do not care about education. Realize a day off of work for some parents can mean a job loss. They want to come and talk to you about their children. They want to know if their children are being respectful and trying hard, but they can't take a day off of work. They cry when they hear your demeaning tone on the phone after they get off work at midnight to find that their child was talking to his/her friend in class. Instead, let's be understanding and know that the playing field is not even. It is harder for children from poverty to be successful. Let's treat these children and their parents with compassion.

Let's stop pretending that there is one best strategy to help our children learn. Let's be open-minded, and experiment. Find what you like. Add your flair. When someone else flaunts another strategy that you simply cannot use because it is just not you, accept the fact and appreciate that another guru is using a different strategy that will reach that group of students you will never be able to reach. Celebrate the difference and work together to maximize learning for more students. A rainbow is not a rainbow unless it displays all the different shades of color. We only represent one hue in the rainbow. Let's celebrate differences in teaching strategy like we celebrate differences in our students.

I challenge @mathbutler, @dabennett7, @mr_r_brewer, @ProgresivTeachr and @mathkaveli to share how you #MakeSchoolDifferent