Sunday, January 21, 2007

Going with the Flow

I am finally taking more time to read some blogs despite the fact that many work deadlines are looming. Today Bud Hunt quoted a comment by Bruce Schauble. I'll quote it here:
"....the best classes, for me, always seem to be the ones that go sailing off in some direction I hadn't anticipated. I used to worry about having to pull the kids "back on track." In recent years I'm more interested in trying to explore with them where the new track is leading. Truth to tell, a great deal of my lesson "planning" is actually done after the fact, trying as you say, to figure out, given today's surprises, what would be a good thing to do next.

And all of that connects to the objection that I think we both share to curriculum design driven by standardized testing. There's no room there for side tracks, we've got to get to page 48 by Thursday.

The artfulness of teaching is about knowing when and how to respond on the fly to things you hadn't anticipated. And if you don't provide room for those things to happen, if you don't give the students room to make them happen, education devolves into something mechanical and soul-deadening."

This is the way I have always tred to teach - to leave room for side trips and sometimes that side-trip is better than the planned trip. I am involved in developing an online course. That is a concern for me - how to build in room for side trips. I would hate to be "teacher-proofing" the experience and thus soul-deadening the students. This was a good reminder.

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