Weekend Reboot: September 14-15

September 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Life in any school marches to a hectic, “always on” drumbeat.  Each week, I collect articles to inform my thinking about education, to be digested when 
life slows down to a more appropriately reflective, weekend pace. 

Off we go with the start of the year.  One week of classes in the book, and I’m starting to see my students’ personalities emerging from behind the masks of reticence that abound in the first days in a ninth grade classroom.  Transitions are on my mind this week.  As teachers, my colleagues and I are asked to shift gears from self-indulgent days of summer to the selfless energies of the classroom.  The ninth-graders I work with each day find themselves in another vortex entirely– new school, new peers, new rituals and routines.  In most cases, the culture shock means that students are navigating life away from home for the first time, and coping with academic struggles that were unthinkable just months ago.

Little wonder, then, that an article on emerging work in the area of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) tops my list this week.

  • In an innovative school, what is the proper relationship between teachers, courses, and content?  Ben Olin’s piece, “When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning” urges teachers to mix memorization and meaning to build enduring understandings. 
  • To take things a bit further, what is the appropriate interplay between students and content in a truly innovative school? The answer may lie in the intentional cultivation of creators, and not simply consumers, of content — a theme I’m hoping to explore in more detail as the year evolves. The always excellent “Hybrid Pedagogy” pushes a radical extension of this ideal in “The Digital Humanities is about Breaking Stuff”.  Time to move beyond simply “building stuff” and “sharing stuff,” argues author Jesse Stommel,  towards an investigative mode that interrogates conventional wisdoms, and reshapes or remixes the building blocks of tradition. 

Dig in!  I hope you’ll find something here that challenges you to think in new ways, and that you’ll share in kind. 


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