16
Mar
15

Sinking ships (Part 2 of “Canon”)



Our mini StuCamp offered students voice and choice last Friday. Authentic dialogue, engaged students, inquiry.

Will the dynamic duo save Common Core, Imagination, or Tech Tools? 

If we save only tools, we can ask learners to create anything, but we may sacrifice adherence to a shared set of standards. 

If we salvage only standards, we risk a product of our education system who can think and do, but who may be limited in ability to use tools and imagination;

If we rely on creativity we may open a door to wonderful innovations and new solutions to problems that arise; but we could lose the security of knowing that all children are absorbing similar content and using like strategies. 

Erasmus: I know where we have looking at this problem from the wrong angle. Instead of saving the methods of education, we must all make way toward the School of Athens and save the pupils themselves. They are equipped with imaginations of their own, and we and they together possess creativity and resourcefulness enough to invent tools for learning. Rather than import standards the way Don Corleone imported olive oil — an enterprise shrouded in mystery and suspicion — the local institution and stakeholders might continually write, examine, and re-evaluate their own. 

Captain: But what about the cost? The loss of the shipment? 

E: Perhaps from this new perspective we can see the fortuitous scattering of your cargo as gain. Its loss invites new collaborations, demands individual and group deliberation, and guarantees reforms as well as resistance. A truly democratic education will build both confidence and resistance. 

A: Yet won’t we risk watering down the stringent guidelines of thought and rigorous canon established once and for all? There are some things simply worth knowing, and others not worth spending time over. 

E: You sound concerned that the tools of thinking, and of imagination may somehow fall out of practice and be lost with the jetsam. This is an argument from the authority of tradition. I say, let the gods protect and preserve those divine traditions they want kept alive; it is for teacher and learner to weigh the traditions of humankind as part of their instruction. We cannot shed our innate capacity for learning, nor the acquisition of knowledge to appease our passion for discovery. If there truly are laws of logic which govern good thinking, the downing of one ship will not stop future generations from practicing deliberative and contemplative thought, nor from deducing rules of logic. 

C: Are the schoolmasters at Athens the preservers of all wisdom? The city itself bears some responsibility for inspiring its youths to attain wisdom. By maintaining a library, it too will be engaged in protecting and preserving the ancient texts it values while considering new acquisitions from every field: from philosophy to the popular novel.

A: You expect a bit much from citizenry, pedants, and children. With all of this thoughtfulness going on, how will there be any time for studying, commerce, and politics? 

E: I am afraid Time is the one commodity your ship, good Captain, was not licensed to import. We can merely point out, Anthony, upon our arrival, that time and persons are the only resources which cannot be replenished. Once gone, they will not return. 

C: Then we are agreed. I sail with you to Athens, with my crew, but we must let my ship and its educational cargo come to rest beneath the waves. 

A: Then our deliberations have been for nought? Nothing is saved.

E: Correction, Boy Wonder. Inquiry survives. Our disequilibrium led to the investigation of a problem we had not considered before. Perhaps the inquiry at Athens will begin and end with imagining what was left at the bottom of the sea. But I am hopeful today that we import something more valuable than a filebox, a toolkit, a playpen. This whole time we have been wondering what a school ought to be, but we should be asking what learning seems to be. If each interpretive community took up such an inquiry, it may even begin to pursue such questions as whether children learn best in schools, who is qualified to instruct, whether effective instruction actually molds character, and so forth. An inquiry process doesn’t ask which type of fuel to feed a dying fire, but whether it is light or heat we demand of the flame. Open the Trade routes to inquiry! 

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Sinking ships (Part 2 of “Canon”)”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Gordon’s Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

RSS Good Questions

  • Guided Discovery Lesson Plan: Cubbies November 9, 2015
    This lesson introduces students to the their classroom cubbies. The lesson allows the class as a whole to determine what is the appropriate use of a cubby and how to best care for them. What is a Guided Discovery? It is a student-centered … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Guided Discovery Lesson Plan: Freeze Signal November 6, 2015
    The Freeze Signal is used to communicate to students that they should suddenly stop what they are doing and pay attention to the teacher.  I consider it an important safety measure.  Personally, I use a singing bowl, but I have seen teachers use … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • What is this Maker Movement? February 12, 2015
    I am a maker.  At least I think I am.  I sew. I blog. I cook. I bind books. I built a deck with my dad. Is that what people mean when they talk about ‘making?’ When I hear people … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Let the Planning Begin – Tools for Success August 13, 2013
    Procrastination finally comes to an end. Today I begin the work of plotting out the first few days (and weeks) of school. While the students are out shopping for school supplies (which induce panic attacks in me), I pull out … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Story Starters August 9, 2013
    This is a first for me.  I have been contacted by SmileMakers to preview one of their products, of my own choosing.  As an avid writing teacher, and a writer myself, I chose to review their Story Starter Word Cubes. … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Teachers Love Tech August 3, 2013
    My love for tech begins at a personal level.  I plan my life (and my lessons) on iCalendar. I create invites, worksheets, game handouts and more with Word and/or Pages.  All of my music comes from the web (check out … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Math Game: Hangmath October 8, 2011
    What is it? Hangmath is paper and pencil game similar to Hangman.  Players take turns creating two-digit addition problems, which the other player guesses. Rationale: Hangmath reinforces place value concepts because the Magical Minds must ask questions about the digits … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Studying Systems October 7, 2011
    SYSTEM: a set of connected things or parts that form a complex whole. The Magical Minds are investigating different kinds of systems.  We started by looking at smaller systems, things we could find in the classroom. We began to expand … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Reading: Understanding Genre Help Us Make Predictions October 6, 2011
    Today we began to think about how to use what we know about genre to make predictions about our books. To illustrate this point we compared nonfiction and fiction books. We already know that nonfiction books are full of information, … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz
  • Math Game: Foreheaded (place value) October 5, 2011
    What is it? In this game each player receives a mystery three-digit number, which they place on their forehead.  Using a guide sheet (below), players take turns guessing the digits in their numbers. Rationale: This game allows the Magical Minds … Continue reading →
    Erin Mahollitz

%d bloggers like this: