Posted in Uncategorized, tagged children, development, education, flourishing, future, innovation, knowledge, learning, life, montessori, psychology, reform, school, students, success, teaching, whole child on May 30, 2012|
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Yes, true education reform remains the hot topic.
Education needs to be reconceptualized as “that which a human being requires to develop from birth to maturity”. That is such a different focus from the conventional conception of education as the transmission of data/facts.
All we can do, in this new understanding, is “to assist life”. What does this mean? : what does life “want” and how can we assist it? What does it mean to ask this question or to even think this way?
Life, all life, not just human life, wants to thrive. A basic element of biology is this: living things want to thrive. We see this everywhere in nature: the wildflower growing out of a rock face or through dried leaves in early spring; the instinct of animals that serve to protect or propagate. It would be wise to learn from nature – being a part of it. The secret is there for us to see, if only we’d turn our gaze to it.
Children are born ready to learn, to thrive. Our task is to clear the way and provide safety and security for this life to unfold. Nature knows what to do. We’ve learned about the nature-nurture dance, about the value of enriched environments. Let’s do that: prepare the environment that nature requires, then stand aside and let it work its magic.
This is what it means to “assist life”. It’s easier than we think. Nature is a lovely, beautiful, integrated and powerful system – let’s unleash it, respect it, honor it. Instead, conventional education has blindly and misguidedly tried to invent something that doesn’t need inventing. Education is a natural process if you conceive of it as life merely unfolding.
This is a different way to conceive of education and if there’s a chance for education, for children and for our world, we need more people to begin to come to this understanding. Montessori schools get this.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged change, education, grading, innovation, learning, preparatory, reform, school, students, teaching, test scores, testing, value added assessment on May 27, 2012|
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Education talk is so frustrating. Especially those who wear the self-appointed label of “reformer”. The frustration comes from their having misnamed themselves- they are no more calling for meaningful reform than would be the case if “Oreo reform” was a call for red cookies on the outside instead of black.
Now what’s being discussed is the collective reference to the “school reformer movement” that has groups (Stand for Children, Democrats for Education Reform, StudentsFirst) pushing against the status quo and teachers unions. It’s supposed to be about these groups wanting something better, etc. BUT all they call for is “value added” assessment of teachers’ performance, measured by test scores. really?? We think we can assess teachers by how much stuff their students “retain” (let’s not bother calling it “learning” – see elsewhere on this site for that discussion).
Why is it so hard to get the point across? Is this going to reform anything of substance? If you keep standardized tests and add measuring teachers by the progress made on them, don’t we see the writing on the wall: motivation to cheat, to be easy graders, teaching EVEN more to the test and other forms of dysfunction and mismanagement? Do we really think that teachers will “teach more or better”? And with what methods? The same old ones that have failed for generations, focused on the wrong things, etc. THIS is where the reform is needed- why is this so hard to see? What are we looking for? “the king is dead, long live the king”? new paradigm same as old paradigm?
When will the meaningful talk of TRUE reform come to the forefront? What will that take?
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged children, development, experience, flourishing, learning, life, optimal development, parents, success, talent, whole child on May 25, 2012|
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An adult was heard to say “my dad didn’t teach me what to do, he just lived and let me watch”.
That’s rich. How many parents spend a great deal of time “telling’ their children what to do, how to do it, how to be “polite”, “kind”, etc. Is this the best way? The adult above clearly valued a different approach: modelling and let it be.
People learn best through self-discovery and exploration. “Telling” rarely communicates what is important because it is disconnected from your own experience- it amounts to accepting received wisdom, so to speak. Parents who live their lives well, don’t tell their children to do as I say not as I do”, teach them what is important and teach them in the best way possible.
The other thing at work here is not micromanaging a child’s development or future. Sure, as parents we all want what’s best for our children, we all want them to succeed in their endeavors. There is a difference between providing opportunities and support and what some parents do, which amounts to controlling their children’s lives and not allowing for self-expression and self-awareness. Letting your child discover what moves them, what contributions they can make to the world, is the best way to help them become both whole and happy.
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