View the story “Pushing the Conversation” on Storify
How did I know a blog post would come out of sharing that link with you?
Wow — powerful stuff. At first I was reluctant to even watch the video. I hate it when kids video conflict between the teacher and a student and post it on the internet for all to see. It’s usually embarrassing and demeaning for the teacher and often doesn’t show the student in a good light, either.
A few points: 1) this kid knows what it takes to be a good teacher. I hope he somehow finds a way to take his passion into the field of education. 2) I feel sorry for all kids whose teachers give them “packets”. My child is going through this right now, and I have given my permission to not attend those classes in favour of studying at home.
How do teachers know when they are just “teaching with packets”? Or better yet, how do they not know? (because my child’s teacher doesn’t know the real reason for the non-attendance). I see all the amazing and creative things that some teachers are doing with their students and wish that it could be that way for all — but I know that we’re not there yet.
Thank you George for highlighting several issues that all school leaders have to contend with. Our challenge is to manage this multifaceted situation in a manner that brings about positive shift for those involved, supporting the teacher to move beyond the practice of ‘packets’ or continual ‘worksheets’. Supporting the student with their learning and that of his fellow students and finally managing the now very public art of teaching in a growing environment of students with their own devices, either through school choice or not.
Our response as a leader can be many and varied and sometimes it is tough finding and selecting the right one.
It is messy, it is one sided, but we’ve all been at the receiving end of a “packet” education one time or another and so yes I understand that young man’s frustration. Sadly, the idea of a “packet” education seems to pervade our lives, long after we leave the classroom, so I don’t fault the teacher. It is pervasive within our culture and that is what we must guard against, the idea that education is as simple as turning on the computer, or reading a “packet.”
Children challenge us, and that’s one way that we grow. Often when a child challenges me in an unexpected or uncomfortable way, I will say, “I am listening. I need to think. Give me some time. I honor your thoughts.” We can’t be all things, but we can grow. We can’t meet every need, but we can converse. Our students often see what we can’t see, or feel what we don’t know. What’s important is that we take the time to listen, and then work with them to make it better, more responsive, or at least understandable. Thanks for bringing us the issues of the day, even when those issues are challenging.
I love your response. We all need strong, honest feedback regularly to push us to grow. It may not be the easiest to hear or swallow but we will learn the most when it is real.
Hmmmm… perhaps the student has a point but I’m a pretty big believer in not just complaining about what is “wrong” but also thinking about the solution. Perhaps the answer in this situation is that the student is obviously right… the packet of worksheets is not engaging him in the act of learning… and probably not engaging anyone else either. I would see the next step as outlining the outcomes that the packet of worksheets is meant to achieve and sitting down with that student (and any others who want to join in) and creating an alternative project that would engage them along with some criteria to show they have achieved the objective. I see this as a great opportunity to engage a student and have them take responsibility for their learning at the same time as shifting the teacher’s job to be that of facilitating and supporting that learning. This is not a sit and get world.
I’m new to this blog, but I am excited to join the conversation. As a current graduate student when I first saw this I couldn’t help but be motivated to start voicing my opinion on this subject so hence I’m seeking out blogs that discuss education. The reality is what Jeff Bliss is saying is what many K-12 and post secondary students are thinking on a daily basis. I do agree that there is always two sides to a story, and it would be too much of a generalization to say that all educators are that way; because of course that is not the case.
However, I grow more frustrated as a student with the current education system. Yes it may be hard for educators to swallow, but students don’t see evidence that education organizations and institutions actually care about the students. I certainly don’t see the evidence. There has been more of these “packet” teachers in my education than there have been engaging teachers. What I often find is many educators voice their support for the student and talk as if this is not the norm of what you see in the classroom. The problem is that, “packet” teaching is the norm from my experience; and those who support the student fail to see to it that the problem is solved. You can say that the student should come up with a solution, but the fact is that solutions and changes come from those in power. Those in power in the education system seem to be more concerned about revenue, salaries, and retirement than the student. Just my honest opinion from a concerned student.
Love this, on many levels. I appreciate the courage and insight of the student who clearly and concisely articulated what educational theorists and enthusiasts have attempted to capture. It is necessary to create a foundation of learning that is intrinsic, motivated and propelled by a genuine desire to know and understand, to question and apply, to discuss and debate. As teachers we are responsible to provide opportunities for this learning experience to occur, gently cushioning our students as we push them beyond their limits. In order to do this we need to rid ourselves of the crutch of “packets” or any other paper driven form of instruction. I applaud the young man who spoke up for his education, who advocated for the education of his peers. I take from him motivation for those days when my teaching and leading is obscured by paper and lack of vision. Thank you! One would hope that his message goes viral!
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Of course, since this post, this video has gone viral and has had quite an impact on discussions both about and within education! It’s important to keep in mind that we will never have a contextual understanding of the situation because we were not there; therefore, I think we should avoid passing too many judgments.
However, I do agree that we can take from this a more important message about the whole of education. Learning should be engaging. Students should be able to pursue what they love. They should feel safe, loved, and motivated. What they do at school should be relevant to them. I don’t believe we are doing our jobs if they don’t feel this way. Regardless of what happened in this particular situation, it is a great reminder of the changes that need to take place in education. Students do deserve to have their voices heard, and perhaps it doesn’t happen often enough in encouraging, productive environments.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=jcaZ8qmA7oM&NR=1 I thought the follow up interview with this student was interesting.