This Seth Godin video, STOP STEALING DREAMS, with complete brevity, describes the history of the school as we know it. Every time I watch this video, I am amazed that he is able to so succinctly and eloquently sum up the sad state of our present day model of schools. Why hasn’t anyone in the bureaucratic system realized that it is merely common sense that we need to redefine, not – just how schools operate, but why, and what is their purpose… What is school really for?
Here is my story and I can remember it like it was yesterday. My seventh-grade science teacher taught strictly out of the textbook, never an experiment or project – just read the chapter and answer the questions. If you were neat you got a check plus.
If your penmanship was messy, you’d only get the check, no plus sign. It didn’t take a friend and I long before we realized that he was grading us on our handwriting and never even checking our answers. How did we know that he was not spending time with our answers? Easy, we started just copying the questions, if we did it neatly – check plus. Soon we got courageous and started inserting little random references to the “Sugar Bear”. Not once did he catch on… sad.
The following year, we had a wonderfully hip science teacher who taught us the parts of a flower by illustrating and labeling them in poster form. She wasn’t afraid if we went a little deeper with the assignment and labeled the female parts in detail. She encouraged deeper learning and creativity! It was back then, that I had the epiphany – this is the way teachers are supposed to teach. Excite, engage, enlighten, and intentionally hand over the ownership to the students, this is exactly what she did.
Teachers need to excite, engage, enlighten, and inspire their students. Unfortunately, test prep is at the forefront of most districts and creativity has sometimes been forced out the window. Here is a fascinating blog about creativity… it talks about a new study that sheds new light on the role of creativity in career success and the belief that creativity is not just a personality trait, but a learned skill. Creativity and Education: Why it Matters,