Somewhere in the Middle

I am playing with some ideas in my head, so I am “writing to learn” in this post instead of writing to share my learning.  Bear with me as I work through this post.

I have been playing around with this term in my head of “Education Centrist” and wondering what that term means for education.  Maybe it is not the best terminology, but I have found myself in the middle on a lot of views in education right now between “traditional practice” and “innovation.” For example, here is a “middle” point of view I have shared before:

Image result for sage on the stage george couros

Take some more examples below that I am just sharing off of the top of my head:

Some people think “lecture” is horrible and some think that this is a great practice.  I would say that too little or too much of it in our classrooms could be bad either way.  Of course, how you lecture is much more important than “if” you lecture.

I don’t think tests are the worst thing to ever happen to education, but I definitely believe over-testing is a problem.  There have to be more opportunities for meaningful assessment of learning.

I believe many students have too few opportunities for meaningful creation, but I also believe consumption is an essential building block to create things of value.

The “basics” are not a bad thing, but they are a starting point not an endpoint.

Not all past practice is bad (storytelling is a practice still used that is hugely beneficial to the way we learn) and not all “new” practice is good. Or vice-versa.

Relationships are the core of powerful teaching and learning; they are not everything, but without them, it is much harder to accomplish great things.

Schools should start by focusing on the strengths of our learners but, it doesn’t mean we don’t work to develop weaknesses.

Collaboration is a skill that is important for learners, but so is the ability to work in isolation.

I could go on and share more, and maybe you disagree with some of the above statements.  That is okay. Here are a few reasons I am bringing these ideas up:

  1. All of the above comments have a focus on what are the range of opportunities and abilities to figure out to help all of our students to become successful as individuals.
  2. More of these statements are focused on bringing people together (to serve students in a myriad of ways) than it is focused on pushing them apart.
  3. These statements are not meant to help people grow and let people off the hook.  They are intended to start conversations about what works for students.  We are isolating people that bring a ton of experience, wisdom, and fresh ideas into teaching with “all or nothing” statements.

The hope is that when we are looking more for the “center” of these ideas, it will bring more people and wisdom into conversations.  As my friend Joe Sanfelippo always says, “we are all in this together.”

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