Krissy Venosdale is the director of faculty and instruction at Rainard School in Houston, Texas.In her post,"If I Built a School", she talks about the different things that she would do if she was given the chance(a Willy Wonka moment) to built a school from the ground up with no limitations. After reading her post I would have absolutely loved to have gone to her school for my elementary and secondary education.
She also discuses how children would do their work, not because they had to, but because they would want to. She would make her school a place where children would want to come and learn by placing a tree house in the library, making the cafeteria like a coffee house and letting them paint on all the walls. The way she thinks of learning is so fun and exciting. I could not name one child who would not be excited to come to school everyday. This is the type of environment for learning that is needed!
Sugata Mitra is probably, in my opinion, one of the smartest people in education. Some people may say this is an invalid argument for me to be making, seeing that I have only watched one video of him speaking, but the way he thinks of education is great! I love how he makes a point that schools as we know them are obsolete, because this is so very true. He talks in this video about an invention of his called "the hole in the wall." Aside from the TED conference link, I have also posted a short video about this program below.
To me this program shows us how much, as Americans, we have disabled ourselves from learning.I am not saying that learning isn't important or we don't need teaching but we, as teachers or future teachers, need to learn the difference between material being spoon fed to us and the students, as Dr. Strange would say "burping it back to us" and actually learning the material. I think if many of us would take into account Dr. Mitra's style of "cloud learning" our children would, in fact, be much better off.
If I Built a School, What Would it be?
What my students would know:
I want my students to know that it is okay to make mistakes, and its okay to ask questions, because if we knew everything then we would have no reason to come to school and learn. I also want them to believe in themselves as much as I do, and know that they are smart no matter what anyone says and together we can help each other learn new and exciting things.
What my students would be able to do:
My students would be able to explore the world through different books, apps, and websites. They would be able to create freely and learn whatever way is best for them. My students would also be able to go on many field trips. I would do my best to plan a trip on each different thing we learn so the students aren't just imagining, but so they can actually see. They would also be allowed to express their thoughts as freely as they want during specific times of the day. I want my students to feel like they, and their thoughts are important.
My Methods for Teaching:
Number one would be no spoon feeding. I want these children to pass whatever grade I am teaching because they know the material not just because I gave it to them, they spit it back at me, and then forgot it all. To me memorization is the worst thing ever. It is not knowledge, and knowledge, as we all know, is power and I want my class of students to be powerful little ones. I also want to give my students the opportunity to create things, not because they have to but because they want to. I think that visual learning is always best, especially in elementary education, and I would to incorporate this in to everything I do.
Tools I would Use:
I would use probably anything I thought would be useful. Computers, iPads, musical instruments, movies, markers, crayons, lots of paint. anything fun!
Roles Students Would Play:
I would love to put students into groups and help others. Maybe like the ones who finish early help those that are struggling. I want them to be able to learn not only from me but from each other too.