April 28, 2011

Breaking the Mold...thinking divergently...

Sir Ken Robinson’s paradigm of education is an interesting perspective of how education has evolved and continues to evolve. What I find most interesting about his position is the fact in many ways he feels that the traditional education model that so many schools have come to adopt is in many ways stifling the natural creative and educational process. The idea is that students in some way fit a mold and that our role as teachers is to ensure that each of our students fit that said mold, no matter what the cost. Enter divergent thinking...

An article written by Marie Myung-Ok Lee’s article, What I Learned In School,” which was printed in the New York Times on March 30, 2011, (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/opinion/31lee.html ) falls in line with what Robinson is saying. The idea that good teaching comes when students are truly learning, is exemplified in her statements about two of her teachers. She points out that the teachers that truly taught her something were the ones that let her explore her strengths and further instilled the passion that was already deep inside her. Forcing the idea that all students need to learn the same things in the same ways is in many ways the exact opposite of what our civilization was built on. As a society we are stifling our children, preventing them from fully tapping into the potential that lies within them.

If Sir Ken Robinson's ideas exemplify the belief that we have modeled our teaching on -namely that if we want each of our students to learn in a differentiated manner and in a way that allows them to develop to the best of their potential, then we need to reconsider the notion of state testing. We need to reconsider the value that lies in programs like Khan Academy, that demand an answer rather than a plan. An interesting take on Khan Academy can be read in this blog post (http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/khan-academy-is-an-indictment-of-education/) which pushes the very notions that Robinson and Myung-Ok Lee push. It brings to the forefront that it is not just a matter of changing the players but changing the game, which is exactly what Robinson asks everyone to consider.

So, what does that mean for Bronx Green, for iPads and for our plans? For me, it means a lot. We need to look at iPads in a way that will help us allow our students to break the mold rather then simply try to get them to fit into it in the best way possible. We need to use the technology to help them develop a passion for the things that they are most interested in learning. And since the mold still exists, we need to use our technology to help children find a way to work with the mold, to be successful in it, while the adults who can affect the change in education try to break it completely.

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