|Wendy Stefansson. Life is a Room with a View.|
Digital composite image. 2014
I teach little people. I have taught adults (also fun) and junior high (yikes!), kindergarten and playschool, but most of my experience is with grade one.
I’m an artist and a poet.
I like technology but I believe in hands. I believe the brain and the hand are wired together in a way that is different from how the brain and the eyes are. I believe that printing/writing/drawing/building connects to the brain, to memory and to creativity in ways that keyboards and touch screens don’t. I believe that paper books engage multiple senses. I believe that things that are made by the hand come from the soul.
I believe in touching. I believe in smelling. I believe in tasting.
I believe in feeling.
I believe in boredom, and down-time and letting kids eat dirt. I believe in unstructured play.
I believe in challenging kids. I believe in struggling and grappling. I believe in making it harder, sometimes, for kids to learn; not easier.
I believe in trusting kids to make choices. I believe in letting them solve their own problems.
I believe an hour is a long time to go without laughter.
I believe we do too much assessment.
I don’t care much about research, or white papers or data or theory; or even grades. They have little to tell me about the little people in front of me. I teach kids. Specific kids. Individual kids. Different-every-day kids. Not lab rats. Not research specimens. Not statistical averages or collections of data. Not the delusions of academics in ivory towers. Children.
I believe we learn to teach from our kids. I believe in listening to them. I believe in responding. I believe in trying to give them what they need.
I believe in an emergent curriculum, but I don’t know how to resolve that with the curriculum I’m paid to teach. I believe in a spiralling curriculum, but sometimes it spirals out of control.
I believe in making connections. I don’t believe in boxes.
I believe the most important things we teach kids are creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. In that order. (Right brain to left.)
But fundamentally, I’m not a believer. I’m a doubter. I’m driven by questions, and not by answers. The more open-ended the better.
Still with me? Here we go.