As we watched in a video on Friday night, everything starts with the question, why. Why is the word that contains a world of motivation, and without the question why, teachers, schools and students are left at ground zero. Without connecting in some way with my student's own wonderings, their interests would wander instead of being applied.
It seems that teachers from way back, like Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel and others had wondered about why and how students learn, and then, based on personal observation, had determined that children learn best when doing real things. And yet when it comes to devising schools, instead of student needs, the needs of the administration come first. Education is turned over to middle management and the children suffer. In the meantime, learning is the most innate and natural part of being a human being. We must breathe, we must eat, we must drink, and we must learn. The question then becomes how. And of course that's where the arts come in.
For me, the why, the impetus to make change in education stems from being told as a young man that my brains were in my hands. That arrested my attention, caused me to reflect, led me to frustration with how children's natural inclinations to learn are frustrated at nearly every turn.
And so, how do we make necessary change? It is a long process, but could be shortened by arriving at a common understanding:
What we learn hands-on by doing real things engages the heart of the learner. What we've learned hands-on has sticking power that leads directly to growth, for teachers, schools, students, and even administrators.Tomorrow I will resume a discussion of common tools. Richard Bazeley in Australia sent a photo of a "shaving pony" that clamps to a work bench so that it can be used as a shaving horse and put away when not in use.
Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.