Reflections from the week


The difficulty I had with one particular student last year was a dynamic tension over work versus learning. She was focused on the work. I wanted her to be focused on the learning and I did not yet have the bridge to bring her focus into the learning. This is something I want to learn to do for my students.

There is also the relationship between grading for work versus grading for understanding. How do you write a rubric for that? Is this were the dreaded tests and evaluations come in? Is work a demonstration of learning? Work as a tool to expand, deepen amd reinforce learning? How do we grade for understanding in a measureable and just way?

Thinking about the story of learning I was told as a child- it is a good one. Learning is powerful, fun and inclusive. If you can read you can do anything. There are many roads to Mecca. Exploration is more important than right answers. Being a good student means being a good person. To learn is to care deeply amd to allow yourself to be changed in the absorption of ideas.

It was this learning story that drove me and I had a difficult transition to the world of “work” in the education industry. It was no longer about learning but only ever about work. There was a cognitive dissonance that I was deaf to for a long time. The reason I have stayed involved in schools is because I love learning in a group.

As I have rewritten my curriculum this summer for Computer Programming, Systems and Robotics and now am working through my new Photography and Film class I’m trying to write a syllabus thay focuses on the learning and not the work. I’m still struggling with the realtionship between the two as my content areas are more concrete, there is work, there are products.

Thinking about routines, structures, enculturation,  opportunities, modeling, environment,  language,  expectations,  interactions and relationships,  and time. How will I use these as the levers to create the rich culture of my classroom?

This week I did not take a lot of notes. My note taking has evolved into tweeting at conferences- engaging in the public back channel is my digital footnotes to my experience. I watched the other participants diligently scribbling and drawing and wonder about the evolution of my process. Am I missing something in my immersion amd absorption approach?  I am rooted in a school where these theories are part of the air we breathe and this gives me a different perspective.

I was challenged this week by leading an interactive course three times. I had several personal evolutions in the refinement and reorganization of materials for Visible Thinking in the Multimedia Classroom. I came to learn by teaching and now I’m processing, processing, processing.

I used to think after reestablishing myself as a classroom teacher I would miss the busy work of administration.  I now know that teaching in the place for forever learning and administration is where teachers go to die in the abyss of work.

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