9 Comments

  1. Karen Szymusiak

    George, I LOVED this post. It says so much about learning and teaching. Interesting that you referred to “the game of school” and wondering if you have ever read the book The Game of School by Robert L. Fried. It’s an older book (2005) but it says so much about how children play the game of school and it isn’t good for them.
    Thanks for posting your thoughts on reading. It sounds like you read a lot …. just not what “school” was expecting you to read.

  2. May

    We can ask another question; do the systems of evaluating schools based on the academic outcome only is helping us?

  3. Sarah

    Very interesting post. As a high school student, I can say that I have classmates who play the “game of school” instead of actually learning. A few are even so obsessed with completing the assignment and getting the grade that they sometimes cheat to get there; this isn’t creating lifelong learners or good character. I love that you say, “if we only teach students the curriculum we have failed them.” This is so true. Thinking about my current and past teachers, the ones who go beyond just teaching the curriculum, truly care about their students, and find ways to make learning relevant to our lives are the teachers that have the most impact. It’s funny that you mention not liking fiction…I don’t like reading fiction either. I just recently started reading books that are meant for teachers and other educators. I know I’m definitely not the target audience (not yet anyways, I want to be a teacher when I grow up), but I love learning about school and ways to make it better.
    I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Clare Edwards

    Can absolutely relate to this story. I developed a HATE for reading and only discoved why in my early thirties.
    As a child, I had been forced from Primary School and throughout Secondary to read books that I COULDN’T STAND, just becuase an adult thought they were BRILLIANT and connected with the text. I HATED READING and couldn’t understand why people made us waste so much time doing it – time that could have been used DOING SOMETHING TANGIBLE. I even learned one day, (much to my sadness) that the only reason I did not win Dux of my Primary (a most treasured prize in my beloved small town), was that I hadn’t read enough books! Everything else was great, but oh no, you MUST read books – all my scores were great, I was a positive citizen, etc. even though I hated reading and would rather be painting, playing sport, building something, communicating with people, being active outdoors!! Gee, that really rubbed salt in the wound.
    I remember an adult saying to me “I don’t trust people who don’t read and I don’t have any time for them. They are fools.” I was so badly conditioned, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I suddenly had an epiffany and realised that if I didn’t like a book, I could just stop reading it – without feeling guilty or a failure for not completing a task. I could actually choose. And it was ok.
    I still rarely read a novel yet I am constantly reading – more than ever – things of my choosing. Thanks to the digital age, I now have immediate power and choices. I am no longer dictated by what an educator or my local librarian thinks I should or might want to read. And I am empowered by the fact that there is can be currency in what I choose to read about – thanks to global connectivity, I can read about the here and now, here and now!
    If I’m honest, I still find losing oneself in a world of written fantasy somewhat ironic when there’s so much world to see and do out there – if you’re brave enough to go through the door. Whilst I have travelled relatively little compared to many, I have been lucky enough to see more of the world than most have read about in books.
    So I guess this discussion makes me question myself as an educator. Do I force my students into reading books or do I unwittingly discourage them? Am I giving them enough choices, or am I subjecting them to the same type of system that I experienced myself? When it comes to reading, despite having access to technologies (although limited in many school settings including my own), are we utilising them, or are we just perpetuating the experiences of previous generations in education, particularly when it comes to reading? Are we really using the power that is now at THEIR fingertips to fully engage students interests and potential?

  5. Maithreyee Dubé

    Very sincere, heartfelt and admirable post. As a parent with a child in middle school who is expected to ‘play the game’ in order to succeed in the current parameters, I feel I need to encourage him to have his feet on both sides of the door frame. Play the game to meet the expectations on one side and take advantage of whatever opportunities are on the other… and I the parent am disheartened that what is available on the other side is limited by resources of time and money for most. And we hammer in the values we want him to have at home. (Do I sound dangerously like a pessimist?!) My point is, until the playing field ‘normalizes’ to the current ideals of what education should be, the parent in me chooses to work hard to raise a good citizen for the community.

  6. Ayman Shargawi

    Well, thats a really big theoritical question to answer. To me, its situational and can be generalized due to the many variables that control and impact upon the educational outcome of each school system. For instance, schools that adopt a military-like black n white strategy to run their school, normally, they’d get great outcome in terms of discipline, well-manneredness and high grades. However weak on creativity and innovation which open horizons thanks to the open free atomosphere these school systems provide.

    Ayman

  7. Ayman Shargawi

    Well, thats a really big theoritical question to answer. To me, its situational and can not be generalized due to the many variables that control and impact upon the educational outcome of each school system. For instance, schools that adopt a military-like black n white strategy to run their schools, normally, they’d get great outcome in terms of discipline, well-manneredness and high grades. However weak on creativity and innovation which open horizons at more free school systems can provide.

    Ayman

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