Sunday, 16 November 2014

my biasses (OR how i see things)....

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.

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