Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Not About YOU!

As I attend professional development sessions in person and/or online I keep noticing a common trend among teachers to either disregard or not even take into consideration whether the technology or innovative ideas being shared is what STUDENTS want or need.  The concern is about what the TEACHER thinks or feels is important or even worse.... what they have the time and/or interest to learn and apply.

One example of this came up in the #TLChat LIVE! Twitter Chat this evening as a librarian shared that her district supervisor would not allow her to genrefy the library collection.  The reasons given included, “No one else in the district is doing this”, “How would we address this in the computerized system”, and “This isn’t the way we do things”. My question to the administrator would be, "Have you asked the kids what they think?"

Jennifer Lagarde nearly caused an oxygen shortage when she addressed a room full of school librarians and stated, “The Dewey Decimal System is not a life skill”. Needless to say the shocked sucking in of air nearly depleted all the oxygen in the room.

When sharing how Google can automatically format papers in MLA format and the EasyBib Add On can format work cited information I am often meet with protests from teachers claiming students need to know how to do these tasks on their own. I summon my inner Jennifer Lagarde and ask, “Is MLA formatting a life skill”?  The answer is a firm NO.

Recently my heart broke as I sat in a PD session that featured a very real and poignant student panel. Instead of taking what the students said to heart and determining to make changes in the way we approach the educational process, many in attendance chose instead to fall back on the old adage of, "We can't do ____ because of time/technology/lack of training/testing/grading/pacing guide/common core/etc/etc/etc requirements".

Last week a student shared the video below with me.  Certainly not my taste in music but the words..the message...SPEAKS what our students are thinking.  Our students FEEL these words. Our students are BEGGING us for relevance in what they are being taught and are angry and offended when we don't pay heed to their voices. We have to let go of "traditional" teaching and start engaging students with real world authentic learning. Forget standardized tests because those monstrous wastes of time, money and student and teacher sanity will take care of themselves IF we throw fear aside, step out of our comfort zones and forge ahead with innovative techniques touted by the likes or Sir Ken Robinson, Eric Sheninger, Marc Prensky, and so many more!

In the end, the very least we can do is give credence to what our students are telling us in so many different ways and internalize that school is not about is ALL about THEM.

I wasn’t taught how to get a job
but I can remember dissecting a frog
I wasn’t taught how to pay tax
but I know loads about Shakespeare's classics

I was never taught how to vote
they devoted that time to defining isotopes
I wasn’t taught how to look after my health
but mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell 

Never spent a lesson on current events 
instead I studied The Old American West
I was never taught what laws there are.
I was never taught what laws there are.

Let me repeat - I was not taught the laws for the country I live in,
but I know how Henry the VIII killed his women.
Divorced beheaded died, divorced beheaded survived
glad that’s in my head instead of financial advice

I was shown the wavelengths of different hues of light
but I was never taught my human rights
Apparently there’s 30, do you know them? I don’t
Why the hell can’t we both recite them by rote?!

I know igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks
Yet I don’t know squat about trading stocks
Or how money works at all - where does it come from?
Who controls it? How does the thing that motivates the world function?

not taught how to budget and disburse my earnings
I was too busy rehearsing cursive.
Didn’t learn how much it costs to raise a kid or what an affidavit is
but I spent days on what the quadratic equation is

negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared 
minus 4ac over 2a
That’s insane, that’s absolutely insane.
They made me learn that over basic first aid

How to recognise the most deadly Mental disorders // or 
diseases with preventable causes // How to buy a 
house with a mortgage // if I could afford it
‘cause abstract maths was deemed more important 

than advice that would literally save thousands of lives 
but it’s cool, ‘cause now I could tell you if the number of unnecessary deaths caused by that choice was prime.

Never taught present day practical medicines, 
but I was told what the ancient hippocratic method is
“I’ve got a headache, the pain is ceaseless
what should I take?” umm... maybe try some leeches?

“Could we discuss domestic abuse and get the facts
or how to help my depressed friend with their mental state?”
Ummm... no but learn mental maths
because “you won’t have a calculator with you every day!”

They say it’s not the kids, the parents are the problem
Then if you taught the kids to parent that’s the problem solved then!
All this advice about using a condom
but none for when you actually have a kid when you want one

I’m only fluent in this language, for serious?
The rest of the world speaks two, do you think I’m an idiot?
They chose the solar over the political system
So like a typical citizen now I don’t know what I’m voting on

which policies exist, or how to make them change
mais oui, je parle un peu de Francais
So at 18, I was expected to elect a representative 
For a system I had never ever ever ever been presented with

But I won’t take it
I’ll tell everyone my childhood was wasted
I’ll share it everywhere how I was “educated”
And insist these pointless things

No comments:

Post a Comment