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Teachers Can Spur Learning By Listening
"A typical traditional classroom in today's climate is more about depositing a large quantity of disassociated facts into children who not only begin to realize that what they think does not matter but that learning is about swallowing and regurgitating information for a test." --Joan Adler
To anyone who cares deeply about education, this essay should add emphasis to our urgency about stopping NCLB reauthorization.
We need to dismiss the poisonous business influence and return control of our schools to the professionals and the families who understand and honor learning and teaching.
Exploring, trying, questioning, experimenting, thinking, all are sacred aspects of childhood, all are key components of learning; all are extinguished in a standardized environment.
We can not easily undo the damages from 5 years in an oppressed environment, but we can stand together to stop it in its tracks today.
Come together and bring along everyone you know that still believes we can make our schools and our system of public education a place where children learn, discover, and question, and where passionate teachers are free to participate, guiding and improving the process with their talent and skill.
There is an educator roundtable with a chair for everyone who cares about the quality and future of public education.
Teachers Can Spur Learning By Listening
Monday, April 9, 2007
Honoring the ideas and voices of children is what makes progressive education stand out so distinctly from the norm found in most schools across the country today. The questions and interests that the students have should be the driving force behind what happens in progressive classrooms.
A typical traditional classroom in today's climate is more about depositing a large quantity of disassociated facts into children who not only begin to realize that what they think does not matter but that learning is about swallowing and regurgitating information for a test.
Imagine a classroom where children are saying, "I have an idea! What will happen if we try to run this motor with three solar panels instead of just one?" rather than "Do we have to know this for the test?" or "How am I doing?" In a progressive environment, children are listened to, and their ideas are considered valuable and worthy of further consideration or investigation.
Honoring the voices of children also means giving up some control in the classroom. It means accepting the fact that you, as the teacher, are not the sole keeper of the knowledge.
Children are people with a natural desire to understand their world, and they love learning new information. The teacher's role in a progressive classroom is one of facilitator: helping and guiding children while they construct their own knowledge.
It's the difference between telling students that electricity happens when you use wires to connect an energy source to a light bulb or motor (or worse yet, reading it and memorizing it from a textbook) and actually giving the students wires, a battery, and a light bulb or motor and asking them to experiment to see what they can find out.
The latter is obviously a more memorable, exciting and motivating learning experience.
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