Today’s Bookmarks from Diigo 01/22/2007

22 01 2007

Practical Theory  Annotated(7)

  • A principal’s blog on  the classrooms of today. 
     – post by del_ambiguity

Engaged and Enraged — Thinking about Marc Prensky’s Ideas

    But I’m going to also say that we also have to teach gumption. We also have to teach kids how to slog through things even when they aren’t fun. And we have to teach kids what it means to see something through, and we have to teach kids that some values are not immediately fun, but are worth it long term. I used to say to my English classes, “Hey, on a warm spring day, I’d rather be outside playing Ultimate frisbee than teaching English, but we all have to be here, so let’s find a way to make it meaningful.” The flaw in Prensky’s article is that there is a difference between recreation and work. It’s wonderful when they overlap. It’s wonderful when we learn from our recreation. But it’s not always the case. And we need to teach kids how to find entry points into ideas that are not, prima facie, of interest to them. We need to find ways to teach students how to keep going, even when the thing they are engaged in gets hard or boring.

      Most things worth doing get hard, and most things worth doing well force us to overcome a gumption trap or two when we would just rather give up. (And yes, I’m borrowing the phrase “gumption trap” from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.)

        How do we mine that and bring it back to the classroom? How do we find a way to teach kids that finding your own path to engagement and not always relying on others to do it for you is a powerful tool for self-actualization?

          We need to do a better job of finding a way in with so many kids. We need to find the spark inside them and then fan that flame so that it can sustain itself. Engagement is not a one time thing, it’s a daily struggle — as the 2 x 4s in my basement will attest — but if we can find ways — be it with computer games and cool technologies or if it’s through more “old fashioned” ways like after-school activities — so that more students can experience that engagement, then we will have started on the right path.

            Instead, we need to create meaningful, relevant curriculum that allows students sufficient opportunities to really step up and take ownership. We need to use the tools that every other aspect of our society and update our schools and our classrooms. But let’s also be sure. We can do all of this. We can make our schools inviting, progressive, technology-rich schools, and there will still be kids who refuse to engage or who simply push buttons and press boundaries, even with a curriculum full of new ideas. There is no panacea in education, and some kids will struggle simply because, on a nice spring day, they’d rather be outside too. Or on the internet, or playing games (on the internet). We have to keep working with them to understand their role in their own learning process. We have to make explicit the steps we would take to them to create an engagement classroom and assigments, but then we also have to make sure they are willing to interalize those lessons as well.

              Blogging vs. Podcasting

                crisp reflective disarray





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