March 14, 2008 § 1 Comment

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, and not a lot of writing. Part of that is because I’ve been busy at work, but part of it is because I’ve felt like anything I was going to write was going to be a complaint and negative, and I’m really trying not to do that, and not get into any of the negative stuff that’s going on at work (at least not in this very public forum).

Today, I read something that inspired me to write about my own learning experience. Doug wrote about learning to fall :

I believe that teachers should try to learn something that’s hard, every once in a while. And maybe even scary. It gives us some appreciation for what many students have to routinely deal with. But, of course, it should also be something that you really want to do, or why would you bother? And how often do students get to make that choice?

I think he’s right, which is why I decided last fall that I wanted to learn to play the guitar. It’s really been a learning experience for me because I’m not learning musically, which is how I’m trained, instead, I’ve been learning by ear and learning to play chords.

Over the past couple of months I’ve toughened up my fingers so it no longer hurts when I press down on the strings, and now I’m working on my timing, switching between chords. I’m learning on my own, without the help of an instructor, but at some point, I may want to do that as I get more into the advanced techniques.

But that’s the thing about being an adult, isn’t it? We get to pick what we want to do. We tell our students what they need to do, what they need to learn, and how they need to learn it. At what point do we trust them enough to let them choose their own path?  I don’t think a junior high student necessarily needs to be given a wide range of classes to take, but giving them open ended options for completing a project sure is a good place to start.

There are always going to be students who need step by step instructions on what to do and how to do it, but just as we modify for special ed students, we should be modifying for those students who are more independent thinkers as well.

Maybe our school system is too ingrained in the corporate approach of “we’ll tell you what to do and when to do it, and you all just be good little sheep and follow along.”

Holy cow…am I becoming a radical?


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§ One Response to Inspiration

  • Doug Noon says:

    I like this: …we should be modifying for those students who are more independent thinkers as well. Makes me stop and think about how often I take the time to do that – which is not often enough, I think.

    Best of luck with the guitar. Wish I could play one. There’s so much to learn…

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