Through my links with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach I am involved in an e-mentorship with pre-service teachers at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, USA. The exercise is a wonderful learning experience for me probably more so than for the pre-service teachers! The idea is that we use Tapped In to discuss questions of interest in a forum type situation. Some of the discussions are of particular interest to the American situation but the other mentors from around the globe are a so well thought of bunch with much knowledge and insight to share – people like Will Richardson, Paul Harrington, Vicki Davis, Jeff Utecht, and Emily Kornblut, Chris Craft and Vinny Vrotny. Through the discussion I glean insights into the way things are done elsewhere- like the blocking of Wikipedia and Google. Imagine that! It makes you appreciate the freedoms we have here in NZ!
Here is one of my ramblings imparted from my soap-box that was threaded today.
If we are to believe those that tell us that the jobs of the 21st century will be in the creative fields- art, movies, music, entertainment, drama, dance etc then the ‘lessons’ need to be in those fields. I think we are getting fixated on the things that we can make an easy pencil and paper test for.
Education is being driven by university types who live in their heads and enjoy the intellectual challenge of constructing clever little statistic analyses of child behaviour. In my opinion actual teaching is an organic exercise where you can’t just learn one subject discrete from other everything else.
We shouldn’t think of ‘real’ lessons being maths, science, reading and writing etc and the arts and physical education as being ‘extras’ to add on at the end if there is time to fit them in. The ability to retain knowledge in itself is no longer as important as it once was in an age where the answers are only a click away.
In saying that we as teachers need to find ways of working smarter and collaborating more rather than slaving into the small hours in the morning constructing lessons from the ground up.