Tuesday, January 22, 2013

getting a grip...

Pattern assembled from veneers
Every day I get emails from various educational websites that offer free advice and articles for teachers to read in addition to their normal work, grading papers and the like. To be a teacher these days is certainly a situation of being bombarded by too much information. Most are overwhelmed. If a teacher found time to read one short article a day, about project based learning, flipping classes, and attempting to interject new technologies, I'd be surprised. They know full well that making significant changes are most likely to get them in trouble. The articles are nearly all about repackaged ideas that someone in administration thinks would be good to push from the top down. Race to the Top, no child left behind, new and improved standardized tests? .. And can you imagine a race in which even that person or that school that comes in at the tail end of things is also a winner? Let's hope for that!

But if our singular measure of success is how students do on standardized testing, we are well qualified for our position in the status quo.

On the other hand, here's an idea that could bring real lasting change and overall improvement in education. Untie hands. Allow teachers to explore their own creativity in their classrooms. Put their scholars hands to use making things of useful beauty. We won't have to read endless articles on the internet. Our students will be fully attentive to their work. Disciplinary problems will be a thing of the past because the students will be interested in learning. Teachers won't burn out in the first three years of their teaching careers. Administrators won't be scouring the web, trying to find the next new big thing to change education.

Long-time teachers will tell you of the absurdity of the present situation. Can it be that in order to get a grip on education, we need simply to allow teachers and students to take matters into their own hands?

In my wood shop today, I've been working on veneered patterns to glue to the tops of boxes.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Anonymous8:18 PM

    If teachers don't have time to read anything else, let them read Wisdom of the Hands.
    I have been teaching for almost 40 years in Montessori schools. I found your blog about a year ago. Now I start my day with it.
    5:30 AM put the water on for coffee.
    Five minutes later (I have invested in a good kettle) drip coffee's ready.
    5:35 Wisdom of the Hands and a good cup of coffee - Bliss.

    My group of kids use their hands all the time. When I read to them they knit, the boys especially. They knit really fast.
    I call it sport knitting to myself.
    We have a woodworking class on Friday afternoon called Kinderwerks led by one of the parents.

    Your blog gives me encouragement, ideas and hope.

    Always learning,

  2. Ah, Karin, how fortunate you are. If only more schools figured this out.


  3. Well said! I just said this very same thing the other day as we argued over a mess of two schools on one campus competing for space. One is labled "better" thn the other. I coudl go on and on but I am sure you know. Thank you again for your wisdome.