Friday, July 16, 2010

a teachable moment...

Richard Bazeley, shop teacher in Australia, sent this link to humanities teacher Jim Mamer's graduation address. A Teachable Moment from an Esteemed Teacher. It won't offer anything new to blog readers, but tells how communities have been called to sustain those things that children need, as school funding has gradually abandoned children to a spreadsheet, teach and test, measured educational mentality. From Mamer's address:
"There is nothing wrong with accountability. The question is, accountability in what? None of these state exams measure progress in love of learning, they do not measure progress in imagination or artistic achievement, not progress in music, not progress in increased scientific curiosity, not progress in an increased commitment to human rights, or in confidence gained, or in stories written. None of that is sufficiently easy to measure."
And these important formative experiences are thus ignored in our obsession to measure results. Through "no child be left behind" we have left all children in the lurch. By centering education on the measurable, we have abandoned the immeasurable values that are offered by the arts.

There are lots of ways to describe the needed change in education. One is "experiential learning," that if children learn by experience, their hands-on engagement, intellectual curiosity and emotional enthusiasm are assured. I have a simple way to make certain that the school improvement can be monitored. Look for and plan for the strategic implementation of children's hands.

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