assumptions, being a teacher, lessons learned, Student-centered

Even With Our Changed Classrooms, Have We Changed Anything At All?

Image from icanread

It relates to school because there are calculators…

It relates to school because he uses math in counting out the tickets …

It has to do with math and that is why it has to do with school…

My students are journaling about the movie “Caine’s Arcade” and how it relates to school.  These wonderfully creative, powerfully imaginative students don’t see the deep connections between the environment that I try to create and that of Caine.  They don’t see how I try to challenge them to problemsolve, to create, to use materials in different ways.  to try, to fail and to have hope and perseverance.

Instead they see a 9-year-old boy who realized life was more than calculators and math.  That you could build something with what you have and have a little bit of hope.  They see that boy as an inspiration, his arcade as incredible, but not those things in the environment we create here, at school. 

What a lesson for me to be taught; school is still seen as its own world with set rules.  Segmented and regimented.  As something departmentalized from creativity, or at least where creativity is built into the day, scripted and called for.  School is viewed as something to be lived through so the real experimenting can happen afterwards.  I may think I do things differently, but I may be the only one.

2 thoughts on “Even With Our Changed Classrooms, Have We Changed Anything At All?”

  1. The children understand that in school they very rarely do something for the sake of enjoyment. There is always a learning intention and they know at the end of the lesson the teacher is going to ask them – what they did well? how did they work as a team? what have they learned? So is it any wonder that they try and link it to maths. I have children ask me before – 'Is this literacy, sir or maths?' I normally have to own up and show them the links. Have you truly done something new or are you delivering maths in a new format? There are some original ideas out there – if you get the children to make arcade games purely for enjoyment and to solve problems and there are no links to maths – such as counting, measuring etc then I would say bravo! If however you are just delkivering a numeracy lesson in a fun and interesting way then well done! But that is how all lessons should be!@redgierob

  2. Challenging post…thank you!Been mulling over the idea of changed classrooms ever since I first stood in front of a group of students almost 14 years ago. It seemed to me then…and more so now that we all tend to jump on things deemed new and exciting, "cause that's what is expected of us." At the beginning of my teaching journey, I did it out of a need to survive. Whatever I could learn from others or implement in my classroom to bring about changes in the way content was delivered, I would try.Currently, however, the desire for change is motivated by a sense that I owe it to my students to create an environment which is conducive to learning. And as we all know, that lies at the heart of the issues today. What changes really impact learning? Some employ technology, others new teaching philosophies, still others resort to the past to find answers. The debate continues…Our schools dish out these "changes" on a platter for teachers, students and parents to enjoy. But I too agree with this post that often the changes do not surmount to much. Why? Because they are at times, window dressing. Creative ways to mask what is truly not always happening in our classrooms. It is time that we begin to take things more seriously. To truly "change" our classroom, we need to change the way our educational community thinks and operates. We need to be discussing the issues openly at our schools via personal and professional networks to bring about a lasting effect. Changes…that really mean CHANGE!

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