After viewing A new culture of learning, these quotes grabbed my attention.
“Learning is natural and effortless everywhere but school.” This statement isn't just profound but discouraging. How disappointing to think that the only time learning is stifled is in a school setting. I believe in order to create a naturalistic perspective we have to make learning more organic. We must take out time restrictions involved in structured curriculum, giving students a flexibility to move on, or take the time to let things sink in. In addition, we have to find a way to personalize the learning, to allow for students to work their passions into the educational setting. Now the challenge is figuring out a solution to these problems while as an educator not causing strife between parents and policy makers.
“We have no time for imagination.” This is sadly true. Schools are now starting to see the significance of creativity, through Makerspaces, STEM, genius hour, and fine arts. Educators are seeing the negative long-term effects of normalizing education and the restriction of imagination. But, is one hour a week enough? One hour a day? There is so much pressure on schools in certain areas, that instead of allowing students recess, P.E., or art they are forced into tutoring. The students that need the opportunity for imagination or given the least amount. I worked at a school that was in danger of closing because of standardized test scores and banned recess. The only outlet for freedom was eliminated until testing was over. There was no outlet for these students to choose their interests. The result of this restraint was not increased learning, it taught students to meet these needs by acting out.
“We are sending messages to teachers that they can’t be trusted” I experienced this first hand when I taught Math. The district put together a curriculum that we needed to follow to cover every concept that the state required. If we spent too long on one concept, there was a chance that the students would not have been exposed to this topic before they took the standardized test. After a few years of teaching math, I decided that this time constraint with the curriculum did not align with my values of teaching. Having the opportunity teaching electives gives me hope in the education system seeing students have creativity, fun, and flexibility.
The CSLE idea of starting first with the students learning and then working outwards really made sense to me. My experience with teaching has always started with curriculum and then figuring out a way to get students to understand the concepts. To focus more on the students should be the way we teach but is challenging with the current model in place and state requirements for schools. So much time is spent focusing on the pieces and I need to start with the whole picture zoomed out and go inward. The idea of providing an environment for students to learn how to learn. Not focusing on just the curriculum but creating a foundation to allow the students the opportunity to do their own learning.
When I first two years teaching I was mostly reactive. My classroom management style forced students to be quiet and listen. Through the years I have consistently been adding techniques and provided for student collaboration, and organized chaos. Through taking these Lamar graduate courses I have really reflected on diverse ways I can improve the way I facilitate the learning. I have been making gradual changes to give students more choices, and more control of their learning. My classes are much more proactive, but there will always be ways to improve.