A radically student-centered classroom doesn’t have fewer problems than a more traditional approach, it just has better problems.
Better problems revolve around community building, social justice, and purpose finding. They are rooted in developing trust and agency and choice instead of mindless compliance and distrust. They are usually confounding and exhausting, but also the place where personal growth, lasting memories and joy can be found.
Better problems are also a choice. We must be intentional about the problems we choose to create and open our eyes to the impact on learners.
Unless we focus on what’s important, what becomes important…
When students returned to our classroom from a COVID-19 enforced change to how and where we do school, I asked what they enjoyed most about doing school from home. The answers, not surprisingly for middle schoolers, mostly centred around sleeping in! But when we dug into it some more, we kept coming back to comfort, control over time and space, and flexible content.
This leads me to wonder, who might benefit from treating school as an extension of home? What are some changes we could make tomorrow, at little or no cost, that would dramatically improve the experience of school…
This is a guest blog post from one of the best educators I know. I’ve been pestering Victoria Edwards for several years to let me publish some of her reflections, I’m thrilled to do so here— Abe.
Writing is an ongoing process and children need the time and space to be allowed to do this. It is not a script that needs to be followed nor a set of seven steps. Writing is about engaging the reader, having cohesion between the start and ending as well as interactions between the characters. …
Dear New Kid,
Prepare to enter a world where you get to take serious responsibility for your learning. You will need to forget everything you think you know about school. In this class, YOU drive your learning, not the teacher.
Perhaps the most important thing you need to understand is that learning is a choice. If you choose not to do it, you’ll miss an opportunity to grow.
Here are some things you need to learn, or unlearn, to be successful in the year 6/7 class:
When time becomes scarce, teachers are usually asked to pick their guilt trip: ignoring work, family, or their health and wellbeing.
The ‘teaching as a vocation’ narrative suggests the best teachers are willing to sacrifice their personal time and health because ‘great teachers take extra time to do it right’ and ‘kids deserve it’. But buyer beware, embracing this brand of neoliberal toxic positivity is more likely to lead to fatigue and burnout than drive sustainable teacher workload.
This is a guest post from a year 6 student in my class. His contribution to Project Reimaginate was quite incredible, and his drive and work ethic are unmatched in my time as a primary school teacher. I’m happy to be able to share his story here.
I’m a kid who is good at school and enjoys “traditional” learning, but this year we did things differently. We didn’t just turn up, sit down and listen to the teacher, we took charge of our learning. And I have loved school more and I believe I’ve learnt more this year than any…
“The future prepared for is a long way off; plenty of time will intervene before it becomes a present. Why be in a hurry about getting ready for it?” — John Dewey, Democracy and Education (1916)
There is a growing misconception that giving a child the best start in life means unlocking their academic potential as early as possible. Increasingly, kindergartens are sacrificing playtime for greater academic seat time in pursuit of distant future rewards. Career ready kindergarten has arrived.
Below I have paired two contrasting kindergarten videos that caught my attention this week. One shows a “perfect start to…
Snapped at the end of a gruelling month in which we barely saw the inside of our classroom, this photo sums up the colossal effort it took for 25 children and a few adults to completely reimagine where and how children play at our school.
Our project’s mission was to transform play spaces. Not tinker. Transform. And some 30 weeks after the project began, transform they did. …
What do you think of when you hear the word play? I associate it with joy, innocence, freedom and flow. I picture my littles hard at play exploring, experimenting, falling, and learning. Play makes me smile, shoot nervous glances at my wife, and at times, gasp.
For children, play is timeless. But play has a problem. …
I hated maths at school.
As a student, mathematics was a confusion of disjointed concepts to be memorised from page upon page of joyless, sterile and seemingly endless textbook problems. It was about speed and rules and conformity. Correct answers were currency. Every test score, grade and report comment only served to reinforce that I wasn’t a math person. My experience never deviated from the traditional.
Education blog. "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say" - Flannery O'Connor