Make School Different: 5 Things We Need to Stop Pretending

I have very much enjoyed reading the diverse posts at #makeschooldifferent of late. I just can’t help adding my Top 5 to the virtual discourse, so here goes…

1. We need to stop pretending… to celebrate differences in our staff and students and actually embrace them. There are many educators trying to change the culture of the traditional school. This includes developing new types of relationships with students in an effort to promote the most positive and productive learning environment possible. Too many teachers, administrators and parents are afraid of change. In doing so they themselves become ‘barriers’ to creating a unique educational experience that every student deserves.

2. We need to stop pretending… that every student needs to be a vocal leader who loves school. In an effort to create a positive school environment and turn out ‘ good character robots,’ some teachers attempt to force all students to be ‘leaders.’ I am all for encouraging students to be kind, respectful, happy people. Not everyone has a bubbly personality or is interested in taking up the next great cause selected by the teacher. This does not make them a bad person.

3.  We need to stop pretending… that just because we call something an authentic learning task (or real world learning task) that it is. For example, when we ask our class to calculate the area of a back yard which is 10m by 14m, and have them figure out how much it would cost to build a fence, this is not an authentic learning task. Do we do this at home all of the time? The answer is no! If we were to go buy the materials and build the fence, we can then call it an authentic learning task.

4. We need to stop pretending… that learning needs to happen in a classroom with a teacher looking over a student’s shoulder. Depending on the grade level, teachers need to get out of the way and let students learning on their own. We should be there to assist them not micromanage them.  

5. We need to stop pretending… that the positives of grades and standardized testing outweigh the negatives. Simply…they don’t

Hope you enjoy or don’t enjoy my list. Either way, I hope it adds to the discussion.

I challenge all educators from TLDSB to share their Top 5.


1 Comment

  1. #3! #3! Let’s put a stake in the heart of all of those so-called ‘real world’ word problems kids suffer through in math (and other) classes!

    Thanks for participating, Mark. Great list!

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