I Can Teach

For the first time I have laid witness to John Deweys’ guiding principles of progressivism within a classroom. I had an opportunity to speak to 4 sessions of 8th grade science classes at SAAS and found how student centered learning can be operated. These kids were given the materials to explore what interests them and came prepared with questions about what they found. This active inquiry based system allowed for the students to draw lessons from the content and engage their curiosity for how our lab did things, the process of getting us to our findings, how much it cost, personal stories of the pediatric patients etc. They were very interested in the stories behind the science, and this engagement I attribute to this experimental learning, and the way the teacher let the individual pupil difference influence instruction.

I am all about inspiring optimism for societies future, mixing up the disciplines across ages, and can appreciate the sentiments of school as “home”, class as “family” and teacher as “parent-guardian”. I can teach the content and find ways to provide for that lifelong means of intellectual development. There is a pendulum that swings between student centered vs. knowledge/society-oriented education and I believe that in the moderation between the two, we can find relief.

I Learned Statement

Things I learned from the reading:

5th century Athens nailed it with creating meaning through engagement being above that of satisfaction and fulfillment. The exchange of this meaning progresses the community and through this concept of “Paidea” everyone benefits.  I also have a strong appreciate for the effort that II. 9. brings. “Good teachers attempt to develop interdisciplinary connections between their own subject area and other subject areas.” I cannot stress how difficult this is under our current formats of economics and academics. I feel the pinch of this detriment in my current field and I am not sure we as a society will ever be able to measure the effects of these rifts in our current state. But I do have hope that as the manifestation of these weaknesses continue to snowball, the value of these missed connections will become undeniable, making action unavoidable and creating enough need to reconcile.

Some things I learned in class:

How important variable pitch is for keeping the crowds attention.

Opening with “what I’m not going to do” preps people to listen for the intention.

If you are #1 in your field your knowledge is contagious, and students wont have time to act out if you have compelling curriculum, and the best way to do that is by being passionate about the material.

Stories hide lessons, short stories provide breaks to the content enough to regain their attention.

The moving of your body to the direction of people carrying on a disrupting conversation in class can discreetly put pressure on them to stop.

That Jefferson believed the most dangerous is an elevated education with no moral guidance.

“Meism” could be the single most toxic malady in the US.

And my personal favorite: a guide to how successful you are is how many kids stay after instead of going to recess.