Day 150 (of 184) The best of times, the worst of times
Yesterday evening, my daughter mentioned she was happy that a display of potato chips was locked down in a metal locker because ‘if it was just left out, it would be stolen.’
I decided to question her. Who would take it?
I asked for clarification – who are the bad people? Would anyone from her class take it?
She responded “no…nobody in her class would”. For that matter, nobody she knew would…
But….how often in education are we making assumptions….that perhaps are not always correct….are we asking enough Questions?
F’r instance, the discussion with my daughter transferred into a couple of twitter chats on Sunday night with #nbtchat (No Box Thinking) and #bcedchat about a couple of items:
Recess. A fifteen minute break in the morning. Well, except for those that have flipped it into the afternoon. And the well established ‘rules’ (code of conduct, etc) that lists out the do’s and don’ts about behaviour. And the recess supervisors who are there…if teachers, usually once or twice a week…with irregular adherence to ‘the rules’. SO, what if…. what if http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/21/when-one-new-zealand-school-tossed-its-playground-rules-and-let-students-risk-injury-the-results-surprised/
As a means to support “free play”, something I am saying with more conviction as my own children get older, that is being “missed” more often then being enabled. From ‘playdates’ to ‘play whatever’, the New Zealand project is making me think and wonder…what if we just let kids…play? Would the ‘potato chips get stolen’ or would they remain…
Math. A comment/question about ‘how much time ought to be dedicated to math’ came up. And again, I have long-standing biases of “60-90 uninterrupted minutes a day would be great” knowing full well that “uninterrupted time” is a very rare commodity (especially having just had a Music Monday Assembly interrupt the 1st Monday of May). But it made me also think aboutt another study I recently had come across: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201003/when-less-is-more-the-case-teaching-less-math-in-school
Imagine: less is more. No math instruction until ‘later in life’ – and shockingly no long-term malaise – if anything the interest in math stayed strong (and if you look at a variety of studies, student engagement goes down each year of formal education: http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/otherreports/WDYDIST_National_Report_EN.pdf
Made me think how some regions don’t start reading (especially for boys) until much later in life than the North American norm (earlier is better…?). How many of the other ‘literacies’ could wait for a “comprehensive program”. Or even a personalized program the natural math students exploring their talents, and supporting their innate curiosity to know more…
I certainly don’t have the answers, but I also don’t want my kids to just ‘fall back’ on opinions as if they were truths. When thinking about ‘why we do what we do’, I also think back to the 5 Monkey Experiment: http://johnstepper.com/2013/10/26/the-five-monkeys-experiment-with-a-new-lesson/
How much of what ‘we’ do is because ‘someone’ 7 generations ago (there’s a hidden reason why I chose that number) thought ‘it made sense’ (or made things easier…?). We ask our students to ask questions….but are we modelling/doing the same??