Saturday, July 21, 2018

learning in the real world

One of the things that children do as a matter of course is learn. We are hard wired for it. We are not wired for sitting still in classrooms and being instructed in things that the adult world has assumed we must be taught.

And so, when it comes to design of education we must carefully avoid disrupting that which is most natural to each child, the inclination to learn and to love learning.

Howard Gardner, in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences made the important point that we are smart in a variety of ways and that we each have inclinations and abilities to learn related to individual dominance of particular senses. Gardner's work led to good thing in the recognition that not all children learn the same. It also led to demands that teachers carefully script their lesson plans to match a variety of learning styles, that the teacher may not have much experience or confidence in.

In fact, those who graduate from traditional colleges to become teachers are among those who've demonstrated a strong inclination for academic learning, and little for the rest of it.

So let's break barriers. A+ Schools is about that. I am pleased that at the Clear Spring School, we now have two A+ fellows who will take on the responsibility of training teachers in other schools. In addition, ESSA will host the Arkansas A+ fellows retreat in October. At that retreat I'll teach the fellows to teach teachers to use woodworking. I am pleased that the Clear Spring School is stepping up to a role of leadership in educational reform

The point is not just to put arts and crafts in school, but to bring real life into the classroom and to make sure that the child's full range of senses is employed. From a prescriptive approach, one might say, Johnny, is kinesthetic, Angela is auditory, Susie is haptic,  and Ermilio is visual in their learning styles. But if you are simply proceeding to do real things, all the senses and all the learning styles are energized and employed.

If you enter my woodshed at the Clear Spring School the first thing that hits you is the fresh smell of wood. All of the senses follow.

Make, fix and create...

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