The driver and the passengers. Is school driver’s ed or passenger’s ed?

When traveling in a car, who tends to learn the routes better? The driver or the passengers? Who better internalizes the paths and roads and mental maps of the journey?

It’s an interesting metaphor for schools, isn’t it? If we say we want children to be and become deep learners who internalize the cognitive and social skills and knowledge to direct their own paths and journeys later, then how much are we willing to commit to letting them be the drivers more often?

While it’s certainly not always the case, I’ve found that subject-area organization of school – the traditional math, then English, then science classes for a little less than an hour each – tend to be driven by the teachers, and the student-learners are more the passengers.

If you want to test that assumption, then ask a K-12 student to describe to you what they will be doing and studying during an upcoming day or week of school. Then ask them who decided on that plan – that route.

Yet, in project-point-of-origin settings, where the learners launch projects based on their curiosities, interests, wonderings, and passions, the students tend to be in the drivers’ seats, and the teachers can become more like navigational passengers (not backseat drivers!) on the journey.

Who are you letting drive the learning? What’s your school’s balance among time for the teachers to drive and time for the students to drive? Whom do you say you want to engage in deep, powerful learning?

So, I can’t help but ask: Do we want school to be more like “Driver’s Ed” or “Passenger’s Ed?”

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Inspired by Krista Tippett’s interview with Dr. Adele Diamond.

Related posts on It’s About Learningsearch category: “Curiosity”

Mathematical Revolutions with @JoBoaler and @ProfKeithDevlin

Mathematics is everywhere, and it’s truly beautiful. Yet, “school” tends to approach mathematics instruction from an imbalanced procedural, algorithmic and computational angle.

Thankfully a number of educators are trying to revolutionize the ways that mathematics is typically taught in school. Two of these incredible revolutionaries are at Stanford University – Dr. Jo Boaler (@JoBoaler) and Dr. Keith Devlin (@profkeithdevlin).

For the past two months, I have learned mightily from participating in a MOOC with Dr. Boaler – EDU115N “How to Learn Math.” And just this morning, I listened to a podcast of Krista Tippett interviewing Dr. Devlin. When I returned from my morning walk with Lucy, I had an email from Dr. Boaler announcing her new non-profit for revolutionizing mathematics teaching and learning – YouCubed.

Of course, I wanted to share these strands and do my part for mathematical evangelism.

Mathematical equations are like sonnets says Keith Devlin. What most of us learn in school, he says, doesn’t begin to convey what mathematics is. And technology may free more of us to discover the wonder of mathematical thinking — as a reflection of the inner world of our minds. – See more at: On Being

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Being aware of the water… as a fish. #Awareness #Education #Mindfulness

To be aware. And from that awareness to choose how we respond. In the nine-minute video below, David Foster Wallace convicted me that such lives at the heart of education. (H/T to my wife for sharing this incredible piece with me.)

THIS IS WATER – By David Foster Wallace

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Also related:

  • Fundamental Attribution Error, which I learned about in college psychology courses but didn’t really dig into until I read and re-read and studied Switch, by the Heath Brothers
  • Krista Tippett’s December 2012 interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn about the science of mindfulness – “Opening to Our Lives”