“Of course the internet being the internet…there was a rapid outcry.” Scott McLeod
Snowballing happens when nothing gets in the damn way. The honest reason that more teens aren’t using social media to change the world is because there are so many teachers in the way.
I’ve been that teacher. We have all on occasion been more of a hurdle and less of an inrun.
A huge shift in my teaching and learning happened seven years ago.
Thanks in part to NIST
I applied to be on a small team of educators who would shape the house program. We coordinated a range of activities big and small, we brainstormed ways to inspire a culture of mentorship and community. The key to that coordination was two part:
a) Empower student-driven activities
b) Provide open-ended opportunities
Coordinating our house program wasn’t about coordinating kids. It was about fostering creativity and collaboration. Navigating that challenge is only possible if you trust the students.
My former colleague Brian Jackson is a true trailblazer in this regard. He knows that we need to give our students the opportunity to think for themselves in regards to the methodology in which they can demonstrate learning objectives. Brian Jackson often constructs rubrics with the students. This shift in collaboratively constructing units of inquiry is hugely needed. The top-down approach no longer fits our flat context.
As an MYP and DP teacher, I think of myself as a thinking-facilitator. My primary purpose needs to be fostering globally-minded citizens. That’s huge. That’s why teachers get summer vacations. If I am not asking my students to practice being thoughtful day after day after day, I have no hopes of achieving my primary purpose.
Schools that don’t make time for this are short-changing the entire community. I’ve long been an advocate for protecting ‘teacher-time.’ When I am short on time, my planning suffers.
Most schools prioritize teachers meeting with other teachers and administrators. Shouldn’t we place more emphasis on the time we each spend with students?
Much in the same way we need to challenge our students, schools also need to challenge their own practices.
Empowering learners is not only about empowering students. How can we empower our colleagues?
Assume your community will use both wisely.