Those who share power, weaken themselves, but those who share wisdom strengthen each other – Niccolo Machiavelli
I came across a great article this morning and, later, a tweet from Mr. Voyles, a teacher on my ex-wife’s elementary campus, that push my mind in the same direction: education inspired distractions.
I wrote an article for TechEdge Magazine in which I derided (esoterically almost) the use of technology as a way to distract students as opposed to engaging them at high cognitive levels.
This type of approved “distraction” is and has been (in my opinion) the biggest weakness in education for decades. We look for new systems or tech to “engage” our kids, while we ignore good pedagogy and content. When we use terms like “engage”, many of us really mean “distract”.
These new systems and tech are throw at us (while the presenter uses statements like… “this training really should take 3 weeks, but we need to get through it in 15 minutes”) without giving the consuming learner time to assimilate. The claim that there is an “educational pendulum” exists because new things are only half way implemented, deemed to be a failure, cast out, then replaced by the “new” new thing.
There is NOTHING that will replace good pedagogy. Our students are not mathematical variables that fit into an equation and, yes, they will get distracted by the newest tech…but, as an old professor of mine once said, “Education demands from the subject some effort, especially some effort of attention, while propaganda does not” (see where he stole that from in the image below :)).
Good pedagogy consists of what it has always been since Ancienc Athens… relationships (dare I say true friendships), guidance as opposed to indoctrination, high expectations as opposed to soft bigotry, and adopting a mindset that allows the teacher to prepare students for a future that will likely never experience by that teacher.
This approach allows our students to claim and expand upon their self identity. It allows them to stake a claim in the future that they are currently building. In short, allowing kids to take the helm as soon as possible in your class helps them reconnect their work and their dreams.
I’d like to call your attention to a piece of paper that was handed to me over 22 years ago by a college professor at Northlake Community College in Irving, Texas. The two underlined sentences have stuck with me this entire time.
“Learning how to learn is more important that any specific thing he can communicate.”
That was in print 22 years ago. We’re aren’t inventing a better way to educate…we’re uncovering it.
How do we reconnect student’s work with their dreams? Teach them how to learn how to learn.
We have to let go.
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