If I Built a School, What Would it be like?
In Krissy Venosdale's blog If I Built a School anyone could see that children are the motivation in Venosdale's life. Her mission has a no curriculum, a student oriented vibe, and Project Based Learning. There is nothing silly or impossible about her vision. Actually, her mission can turn out to be a significant, life changing alteration for elementary education. Her colorful and inviting school provides the vision that cooperative learning is possible and could be good for children. As a student pursuing secondary education, I have to admit that I'm jealous that I can't share her positive aspect and vision for elementary education.
I blame my impatience for small children.
Sugata Mita's video inspired me so much I had to press the like button the Youtube video Build a School in the Cloud . This kind of meant something to me because I usually am too lazy to press like on Youtube videos. Mita is a professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education Communication and Language Sciences. He does this in Newcastle University, England. He says, "schools as we know them are obsolete." That quote did in deed shock me because...well, schools still exist and we use them as efficiently as we can. How can they be as useless as a payphone? He conducted experiments in a few isolated foreign villages by installing an English-based computer in random places to intrigue young children to learn. The computer taught cell division in English, a language the children aren't exposed to. After months, he discovered that students can learn the cell division in English without a teacher. Mita came to a grave conclusion. School is pointless.
Just this morning I was discussing with my husband about our educational system. During our conversation I told him there is so much technology around us. All the children that spend hours on Facebook could use the same internet connection to become anything they want to be by trying in a search bar. The answer is everywhere--cellphones, computers, libraries, schools, and the entire universe if you take the time to observe and admire. What stops us from becoming what we wish to be is us.
What do I want my students to know?
Secondary Education/ English is my major's status right now so it's safe to assume I want my high school students to learn English. They need to be familiar and comfortable with grammar rules. Like I tell my husband, "you don't deserve to break grammar rules freely in creative writing until you know the rules." The rules are simple to me and I want my students to know they are simple as well. Literary elements are an interesting convention and tool to have in your creative writing toolbox so I want to teach them those literally elements through literature.
Yes, I know literature and grammar rules = snooze fest, but that can change if I can get my students aware that it is important to be engaged in learning.
What do I want my students to be able to do?
I want my students to be like Mita's students. I want pose a question and anticipate my students' response. I want them to be able to increase their linguistics and vocabulary without my help. If they see a word they don't know and what should I do? Nothing. Maybe use it in a sentence to make them think. I want them to be independent learners because the world is immersed with opportunities in which you are forced to learn on your own.
My primary way of teaching
Curiosity is very important in learning. What provokes curiosity? I don't know. It's natural to be curious, right? Kittens are naturally curious. Let's not take this literal folks, but I want to treat my students like kittens that want a ball of yarn. I'll dangle some interesting topics in front of them. They'll reach for it, and I'll snatch it before they can grasp it to get the answer. I want them to know that it is much more satisfying to reach out and finally obtain the information than for someone to give to them every time. It's kind of like Venosdale's vision in a remote way. In her vision the children reach out for their education like it's a treat. Being educated is a treat like a ball of yarn to a kitten.
What tools will you use in your classroom
Well, the tools I'll use are a wrench and a screwdriver. Just kidding. I will use creative writing references because students do enjoy them. I know because I was a high school student not too long ago. I will use Powerpoint for a visual learning and make them speak in front of class to increase their interaction skills and confidence. I can't have a rainbow classroom or animal crackers for good grades because that will insult my students' intelligence, but I will use a reward system of some sort to boost confidence and promote motivation.
What role will students play in my classroom?
Let's get real. It's high school, so none of my students will be running around making ruckus while painting doggies and kitty-cats on the dry erase board. Students will, however, interact with each other and me. I expect them to maturely handle the crucial, dreaded "group work" assignments. Also, my students will play ADULT. No late assignments. No bad behavior. No crying.
My school would have litters and litters of independent learning kitties. By the way, I like kitties.