Harvest Collegiate High School school has organized our curriculum around four Habits of Heart and three Habits of Heart which we believe "promote critical thinking and active responsibility." Each month in our group gatherings, we focus on a different habit...March's focus is the Habit of Perspective, in which we try to answer this question: How does this look differently from someone else's shoes?
Very big ideas lie behind even very simple mathematical relationships. One problem with math curriculum developed under pressure to cram in as many topics as possible, is that they often fail to adequately explore these big ideas. Instead, jumping right to the trick.
Students learn better when they are actively engaged in the learning process. This is a lesson that I have learned time and time again on outdoor trips, and one that was reinforced on the survival skills course from which we just returned.
There is no easy or "quick" fix to this problem. However, we can begin by coming together across color lines, income lines, and boundary lines to ensure that all members of our community understand how to advocate for change and are fully experiencing the benefits of our constitution. I encourage teachers and those in the community with knowledge and political capital to begin to facilitate lessons to build the capacity of both students and parents.
It's this time of year when I like to talk a lot about growth mindset. I won't let students say they are "bad at math," instead I'll push them to think about problem solving as a "joyfully messy" process that will inevitably lead to them getting stuck in "maze moments." I work hard to cultivate this kind of attitude in my classes, so I was pretty surprised a few weeks ago when a student accused me of having a fixed mindset.
In my last post, I asked folks on both sides of the debate on the Friedrichs Supreme Court case to consider part of the moral foundation that might be driving each other's beliefs. In this post, I will address concerns that I have about what could happen to students if those who would undermine established state laws are successful.
It is easy to get stuck in our existing "moral matrix" when thinking about an issue as emotional and personal as students in a school and how we treat the folks who work with them. The third foundation of Haidt's "in group/loyalty pillar of morality" helps us to move through the stale debates and name-calling about teachers unions
We are in an age of education where proof is required to show true success. Teachers often hear the question: "how do you know your students understand?" As a middle school science teacher of ten years, it would be easy for me to say, "Well, I just do. I'm a good teacher, and I know my kids." This is not enough. We have to show evidence.
David Sherrin often pushes me and our staff at Harvest Collegiate High School to connect what we are doing to the larger world and the issues facing it. He did so beautifully in an email to our staff two weeks ago and I asked him if--in the holiday spirit and in the spirit of challenging educators to think deeply and broadly about our practice--he would allow me to republish it here. I hope you find it as thought provoking as I did.
There is no denying the testing mess, and recent efforts to reduce our dependence on testing have renewed conversations about what it means to assess in ways that serve learners as much as they serve educators and the systems they work in.