First a video from this week's Saturday Night Live, just for fun, but which talks about the rain:
Now on to the discussion of the Ira Shore article.
It seems as if we are discussion the movement/revolution in education from pedagogical "readin' ritin', rithmatic" and the role of teacher as lecturer, to a newer model of teacher as "problem poser" and the idea of students as creative, critical, and curious.
What teacher would not like to describe their students with these words? What teacher actually describes all their students with these words, check out the 2nd video, by Sir Ken Robinson, who discusses exactly the model of schools we have been accused of in the Shore article:
The first time I ever saw this, I was ready for the revolution. It helped that, the same year, I was moved from a middle school reading classroom, to a high school multiple pathways program. I was in fact asked to energize, motivate, and engage a group of students, for whom the educational process had become "endullment"(my favorite term from this article). I chose project-based learning as my format for ELA class, and we read Into the Wild by John Krakauer. My first year in the program was spent in students self-discover, and despite a few hiccups, was quite successful. To my surprise, many students found that school was engaging, and worthwhile, and that learning at their own pace, and being asked to figure out what topics meant to them, and then being asked to apply this knowledge in a practical way, inspired them to want to pursue new knowledge.
In many ways, this style brought me back to my 2nd grade classroom, where Sr. Beatrice, rolled out the Scholastic Reading Leveled System. Which to this day remains my favorite unit in any school experience (except of course for SED 561). In this unit, there was a box with 50 or so colored levels. Students would all begin at level 1, then proceed through as quickly as they could test out. Our teacher allowed us to choose our readings, and supported us all individually. I flourished, as did many other students in class, but it was the expert facilitation of our beloved Sr. Beatrice that allowed this to happen.
I believe the art of teaching, is the student focused-student centered support of learning, with citizenship, empowerment, and participation at the core. This article hits me right where I live, and leaves me with the question: How do we make this the norm rather than the exception?