Friday, September 9, 2016

Hmmm. The Negativity Surpasses the Positive. Reflections on School K-12 Experiences on the First Day of Class

The outline on the left are the negatives. The right outlines the positives. My students today graduated in 2014 and their entire experience in schools was under NCLB and the transition to Common Core. They've lived through the de-professionalisation of schooling and experienced apathetic, disconnected and passionless teachers.

Each had that one teacher, though, that lit a spark in their trajectory. That is why they are taking an education course. They want to replicate the experiences for others that they had, but wondered why it wasn't the norm in all their classes. They are taking philosophy of education to think about the profession a little more.

Some thought K-12 was too easy. Others thought it had too many demands. Most found college  more supportive of the kind of learning that works best: choice, flexibility, expertise, creativity, high standards, and freedom. Most qualities lacked in their earlier experiences. They hated when assessments had nothing to do with what they learned in a class. Kindness goes a long way, and being mean goes nowhere. They hated how bored they were, but some were able to articulate it was a lot of fun.

Real experience trumps those from a book. They learn from having time to make personal connections. They learn from storytelling and opportunities to explore. They prefer time to co-construct knowledge and not to take notes from lectures.

I always feel a little odd asking the kids to brainstorm about the learning experiences they've had, because I feel I tend to come into the equation upside and backwards. I mean, today I talked about the Brown School and they all had cocked heads trying to comprehend such a school (most of our students come from private and Catholic schools so Brown is definitely an alternative education). Very few have had experiences in diverse times I feel like I'm a trumpeter heralding reasons why their learning experience would be enriched with a more heterogeneous population at the University. I tell them, if it doesn't come to me, I will bring them to it.

And now I need to read all the texts chosen for the course and catch up.

Friday! Friday! Friday!

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