It’s been incredibly hot and essentially no rain here where I live and it’s gotten me to pondering what it means. I’m not inclined to think that God or the Gods are punishing us for a misdeed. The earth may be reacting to fossil fuel emissions and the climate this summer has certainly changed, but not sure what that means for the long term. None of us can be sure what the future brings or even if there is a future. Nonetheless times like this do make me wonder what the future holds. Last week I attended a seminar for principals and supervisors and it was basically how to insure that teachers are teaching and that students are learning. Looking back over my own life I see what a crap shoot that really is. Sometimes it has taken years to learn simple lessons and then other learning is accomplished relatively quickly. Addition, multiplication, and division facts that I learned in primary school are still with me as are parts of the Krebs cycle that I learned in high school and later re-learned in college. I can still remember Polonius’ advice to Laertes which we were forced to memorize in high school English. I have a talent for remembering strings of numbers and I never realized I had that talent until I took a battery test prior to entering the US Navy. That skill serves me well in a field where I need to remember TCP/IP addresses and strings. I even learned how to make change in my head when I was a bartender over thirty years ago and I am still good at that skill. I find myself using it when I’m checking out at the grocery/convenience store and watching the clerk make change. What then are the skills that schools ought to emphasize that will serve students well?
Is it really necessary to learn how to use an iPad or more useful to learn how to express oneself regardless of technique? Is painting with a brush or doodling with a pencil just a beneficial with an inexpensive device as it is with an iPad? How do we encourage creativity and entrepreneurial skills? In a day of standardized testing how do we really prepare students for the future. Is socialization one of the most important skills of schooling and do how can we foster a more thoughtful school that encourages community?
Can charter schools provide public education/educators/students with a more authentic choice or do they degrade from the overall process? I’ve been pondering these ideas. I’m interested in how we can create community and sustainability in schools. How can that best be accomplished? My own background of mixed private and public education has caused me to question if it’s possible to create a school where learning in celebrated, people are educated and transformed and a culture is consecrated as it were. If you’ve got thoughts along those lines I’d love to hear from you. Peace-Shalom-Salaam!