Serving as an Instructional Facilitator has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of teachers and hear what they have to say about education. “There is nothing new under the sun,” resonates amid echos of frustration with the fact that teachers are held accountable for unpredictable students in an everchanging system that doesn’t pay well. I was one of those teachers for 11 years, long enough to see a full cycle of reform efforts. Educators are often baffled by new names given to things they honestly believe they were doing a decade ago. Either they missed the point of the new agenda or they genuinely found themselves forced off track from one agenda for the sake of another.
Did a very powerful group or individual decide it was time to go back to an old agenda and call it by a new name? Wouldn’t that be too simple? The truth is, there are fads in education just like there are in fashion. So trends come and go. As with any art there are certain elements like line, texture, and symmetry that are constantly put in play to create aesthetic value. But education transcends art. It is the most sophisticated means of social engineering.
Just as engineers must respect certain scientific laws when they design anything that will improve the human experience, educators must respect the science of human nature — a science that unfortunately doesn’t yet have laws as precisely defined as motion. There are however many theories and those are the driving force behind what we believe and do as we educate each generation.
What we lose sight of is the fact that we are designers. Parents, teachers, administrators, professors, legislators, and many more collaborate as artisans responsible for crafting the citizens and communities that will either function — or survive, dysfunctionally dependant upon resources provided by others who were more advantageously shaped.
The question we currently face as a nation is one of great magnitude. How are the educational artisans of other nations engineering citizens and communities that challenge us to better equip ours to thrive in a global economy? This blog will seek to answer that question by inviting the expertise of those whose learning experiences differ from mine. While I have a lot to say on this subject, I recognize that my opinions have been shaped by experiences as a student, teacher, mother, and other. What I want are facts.
Opinions may start the engine but they don’t drive us anywhere like facts do. It is the research that confirms and challenges my beliefs that I want to invite and share. Together, I hope we can define laws of education that can be as firmly relied upon as gravity. That may demand a deeper understanding of many ologies, which isn’t something I can do alone. It also demands that we collectively choose which educators are great enough to emulate, just as the communities of art, science, politics, and religion have chosen who to lift up as note-worthy.
So my goal is to pose provocative questions, exchange findings, and invite the creative genius of both common and intellectual collaboration. I invite your participation and urge you to debate the metaphors and analogies I use. Agree if you feel compelled to, but when you note contradictions, call me out; either I’m employing double entendre, provoking you to craft something better, or displaying sincere ignorance. In either case, what you have to offer is important, so post your comment! Do you have the audacity to join me on this quest for truths that will revolutionize education in the 21st century?