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About

Making School so it doesn't Stink

My blog is something I put a lot of myself into. A way I have a conversation with myself as much as with you the reader. It is organic and natural.

As I look over the last year and 250 + posts, I see one very important theme emerging like a crooked stem off the trunk. That theme is student autonomy. Giving students more freedom and choice in how they interact with the curriculum, with how they learn and schedule, with how they hook into their own passion/interests. That's my point with SCC, "student created content". That's my point with posts about Sugata Mitra and his "I'm going away now" methodology. That's my point with posts reflecting on teacher development. How can we get kids excited about learning again? Passionate about the possibilities the world offers?

In language teaching - we too often don't build upon what students know and can do. We charge ahead through the book and syllabus, irregardless of whether there is "soil" for growth. Whether there is student passion and interest.

We should focus on the abilities and the "CAN" of students. Build from their prior knowledge and interests. That's the only truly valid approach. What do my students want to know? How can we get there based on what they already know?

This morning, I watched this energetic talk by Chris Lehmann - a talk about how we have to harness the energies and abilities, the "CAN" of students or risk a totally broken system that just spins its wheels. It is a good representation of most of what I've been doing here on this blog, this past year.

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