|Source: The White House|
I have been thinking about this idea for some time. What if we ignored all the edumacational stuff and just told kids they were in charge of their education? What if we got out of the way? What if we asked them where they wanted to go and then helped them chart a path to get there.
As people who are further on the journey, teachers have some insights they need to hear, and we can and should offer them. However, when did education become about the adults? We're done with our formal education-and the system did right by most of us. I don't think the system has done right by its most recent acolytes. We carry some of that blame.
I keep coming back to the idea of open sourcing...
Let them search for themselves, ask each other, use the tools of today to answer the questions left by the past.
- Step one--read the chapter--don't take notes, just read and try to understand.
- Step two--read and annotate a section of the chapter--try to become really familiar with that portion of the Civil War.
- Step three-research one topic (Battle of Antietam, Freedman's Bureau, Stonewall Jackson...) for three days and then report your findings to the whole class.
- Step four--take notes during your classmates presentations (in our case--using a study guide)
- Step five--the teacher ties any loose ends that may occur. The reality is I need to assess how well they understand the Civil War and the study guide helps put it all together.
There has been a sense of partnership that is missing on lecture days. I am hoping that it gives them confidence to look for their own answer to those things that matter most to them. I am not a fool, not everyone is a history nerd. and that is okay.
In looking at what has helped me with open sourcing, one thing that's been central has been the acceptance that, while I am a smart guy, I am not the Lone Ranger on that account, even (or especially, for that matter) in my classroom. I shouldn't be the only 'expert of things historical' in the room. That is just silly. I have the privilege of teaching curious young women and men and they blow me away with their insights and questions. A valuable tool in the open sourcing of my classroom has been technology and social media--information and experts are at your fingertips.
|The bed in question|
Its the part of teaching that makes it all worthwhile. Messy and loud and with bursts and starts...but worthwhile.