After reading about NoChildHeldBack, I started browsing the Huffington Post, or HuffPost. Their Education section has a bevy of articles – wow! Several caught my eye, and one that stood out (for me) was an article about “Independent Learning” based on an example from Mexico.
Reading through the article calls to mind some kind of enlightened, futuristic, sci-fi learning atmosphere, you know, with sterile white walls, everyone wearing robes, an austere, almost holy silence except for a few sharing ideas. From my own experience teaching at Parkland, I know how engaging the students to teach each other has profound and amazing affects. When I am in the middle of a “learning environment” and am subjected to hour upon hour of a blathering monologue, my “learning” peaks somewhere in the first 10 minutes and my brain turns to mush after that. Is it possible, or even practical, to pursue this kind of “instructional strategy”? When I hear teachers in the area that have gone outside the box, I hear some amazing stories. Granted, there are amazing stories even inside the box. 🙂 I cannot discount that. I guess a big part of me just really wants to escape the trap of “one-size-fits-all”.
This also calls to mind the “Pedagogy of Oppression”, from Brazillian author/educator Paulo Freire, who touches on this very topic. Coincidence? What in the world are they doing south of the US?!? 🙂 Again, I confess that I am biased because I have a very strong dislike for the way we “teach” around here (don’t ask me about college). I recognize that there are different styles of learning, and some people actually do a pretty good job of transferring knowledge via the old standby lecture format. But what about those of us who do not?