Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The video asks an important question. What are out intentions? Everything we do in the classroom has a design component, when we set up and run a classroom we are designing a learning environment for our students. What do we intend to do with this environment? What we make the focus of education says a lot about what we believe to be the purpose of education, it says everything really. Yet how deeply do we consider the shape and content we give to that environment; how deeply do we think about the consequences of what we do? How do we intend to shape the students that come through our classroom doors and what will they look like when they leave? I read an article recently, "Solitude and Leadership" about the nature of leadership. I do not really believe in leadership as it seems to be practiced today, it seems to be more about being the first follower, the person who can get to the head of the line to leads others some place that others still have decided we all should go. But leadership as discussed in this article is important and whether we like it or not we are leaders in our students' lives. They may not know it, but they depend on us to protect them from the nonsense, from the fads, the programs, "the next big thing" whose promises are larger, often much larger, than their results. How does one become this kind of leader in a bureaucracy that punishes harshly those that do not conform to its dictates? Too often decisions about school policy are made with how a policy will improve the image of those setting the policy which is fine when making the leader look good is also in the best interest of our students. But what happens when these policy do not serve the best interests of our students, or actually does harm to their academic futures? Who speaks for the student?