Friday 13 August 2010

"A Three Year Old is NOT Half a Six Year Old

"Very many people go through their whole lives having very litte sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of."

The Ted Talks introduction describes the talk this way:
"In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish."

As an early believer in revolution I really loved the statement, "Reform is no use anymore because that is simply improving a broken model. What we need is not...evolution, but a revolution in education."

Listen, then find out what it is about education that you take for granted.

Cloths of Heaven

William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

My version of his "fireman" story I heard while teaching in a small rural community in northern Michigan in the mid 80's.  A teacher from another district was trying to make the point that we needed to stress "thinking" to all the students, not just the best ones.  He reminded us that in this area, we all traveled a lot on precarious roads that iced over frequently and led to dangerous driving conditions.  He said to imagine for a moment, that the worst happened. You lost control for a minute and the car slid off the road and you have been seriously injured.  The local volunteer ambulance arrives to try to rush you to an emergency room some thirty to fifty miles away, and as you look up into the eyes of the volunteer EMT who holds your life in your hands, the one thing you should expect for sure is that he was NOT one of your AP or Honors students. They are all off to the big city working toward a distinguished career.  This guy was much more likely the kid who cracked jokes in the back row of the General Math class, and asked when we were ever going to use this stuff.  But at that moment, as he is the only one between you and that light at the end of the tunnel, you are going to hope you taught him to think.

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