This time of year used to be an exciting time not just because the school year is coming to an end. For many years, the last few weeks of school has been the window of opportunity in the school year when teachers can enjoy hands-on activities with creative thinking strategies and problem solving because the drill and kill time for testing is complete. It is not to say that is the right way for things to happen but it does happen. The students and teachers finally experience the pure joy of teaching and learning with little time left in the year.
Unfortunately, I am seeing even less of the joyous moments. I’m afraid two things are happening. One, the students find creative thinking and problem solving so foreign after so much two dimensional learning. Or two, the teachers and students are so burned out they have forgotten that there should be joy in inquiry.
Watch Randy Wilhelm’s “Ignite the Hope of Learning” TEDx clip. (also embedded below) I agree with his assessment that in many cases schools have stopped making learning real for children. To “know” S’mores, you have to MAKE and EAT them. Even in places where there has been innovative change, there is a real struggle not to teach to the test in flat, one or two dimensional terms. I ache to see that change.