Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ben's mid-year Pause for the Cause

1. To be honest, a few weeks ago, I was a bit skeptical about my group's (Solar) progress. A personal pedagogical philosophy of mine is to give students the space and time to work on their own with all of the creativity and messiness that inevitably stems from this process. But I was doubting my own personal pedagogical philosophy given that I wasn't seeing a lot of progress from my group members. However, the group has proven me wrong on a couple of fronts. First, in their last blog, they all wrote about the benefits and difficulties of this kind of learning, so, in a meta way, they were already voicing the very real concerns I had. And second, in the last two weeks or so, they've put the pedal to the medal and really gotten their feet wet and dirty in their project. This is all to say that I feel like things are pretty successful at this point.
     * I know we're limited with the number of adults we have and the amount of equipment we have, but I wonder if, in the future, we can allow each individual (or groups of two) explore their own topics? The waters got a bit muddied initially when the groups were sorted.
     * I also wonder, as we move forward, how we can collaborate with more adults and more students in order to make this a more feasible thing to do within the confines of a traditional school. In other words, perhaps schools can begin to create courses called "What's the Story?" and then collaborate with other schools. Just a thought...
     * Finally, I wonder how to make this kind of project available and suitable for the students among us who truly struggle? In looking at my class list, I see a number of students for whom this project would literally be impossible. Therefore, how do we expand it to include all students and all learners?

2. Given that Courtney and I must share childcare duties, Courtney is attending this retreat; however, the kids love being in their groups with time to work, explore, mess up, ask questions, etc. The more they're working and the less they're being talked to is probably best.

3. Being a part of WTS is awesome. I may sound redundant, but it reinvigorates the teaching and learning that so often get stale from a traditional classroom. It's truly a model, if and when it's done right, for what education could be in the near future. It's forcing me, in my own teaching, to do my best to be more of a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage. Students need opportunities to do the learning themselves, to ask the questions themselves; WTS gives them those opportunities.

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