Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking

Here's the Wired magazine story about the Matamoros teacher, Sergio Correa, who transformed his classroom: "How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses."

RADICAL NEW TEACHING cannot understand what a paradigm shift this implies until you read the reader comments at the end of the article.  They dive right in to the recommendation that "bad teachers" be fired, and the "teachers unions" are the obstacle.

In reality, the obstacle is our commitment to an educational model "fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else. (In 1899, William T. Harris, the US commissioner of education, celebrated the fact that US schools had developed the “appearance of a machine,” one that teaches the student “to behave in an orderly manner, to stay in his own place, and not get in the way of others.”) We don’t openly profess those values nowadays, but our educational system—which routinely tests kids on their ability to recall information and demonstrate mastery of a narrow set of skills—doubles down on the view that students are material to be processed, programmed, and quality-tested."

Why are we committed to this model?  Because that's how most of us went to school.  That IS school in the minds of most people.  Change is scary, especially when it comes to our children.  And we accept unquestioningly that achievement test results measure and communicate the true outcome of education.  Perhaps that will be true--as soon as we develop tests that measure innovation, creativity and independent thinking.

Thanks to Post Oak parent Hebe Gutierrez for sending me back to this story.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

the next Steve Jobs

"Genius is everywhere but we're wasting it.  How to unleash the great minds of tomorrow."

That's the Wired magazine cover story, as reported in Latin Times:
"It has long been known that children are more likely to engage in learning material when they are given the freedom to explore and problem-solve independently, to engage in the material in their own unique way. Systems like the Montessori Method, which encourage independent thinking have achieved remarkable results..."