The Wrap-up and a Huge THANK YOU!
“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
This last post wraps up my series on A Leap of Faith – Jumping Across the Abyss to Progressive Education.
However, we will have a couple of treats for you NEXT WEEK! I have some POV’s about education from places OTHER than America! Stay Tuned!!
But before that happens …
I want to thank the contributors, Jennifer, Harrison & Janet, for taking time out of their day to write a post for The Mercenary Researcher. Their insight and experiences are truly inspiring; exploring the road less traveled takes courage. For all the great things each person wrote, there were undoubtedly rocky parts along the path.
I know my son was teased in summer camp by kids because he didn’t go to a ‘real school’ – he was confused and dismayed because he’d never had that experience before. He innocently opened up about not having homework at his school or tests and it turned into a barrage of teasing. As a parent, it breaks my heart to see that kind of situation arise, but he held his ground and talked about community and homeroom. As parents of kids in a progressive education model school, we know there are times of doubt and second guessing and as teachers – having to explain to other teachers exactly what you do in the hope that there is no offense taken nor harsh judgments. But so far the good things outweigh the tougher things, in my opinion. And we will continue this journey for as long as it is something my child wants and benefits from.
I hope you all enjoyed these posts and/or it got you thinking. Even if you are not completely ‘sold’ on the progressive education model or such a school is not in your area OR it’s private and not something viable at the moment, I wanted to present what I think is a very helpful guide to what to look for in a classroom or school. I think these attributes or ‘signs’ can be found in great classrooms from any educational model – from public to charter to private.
What to Look for in a Classroom
-By Alfie Kohn
This revised version appeared as Appendix B of The Schools Our Children Deserve.
|FURNITURE||Chairs around tables to facilitate interactionComfortable areas for learning, including multiple “activity centers”
Open space for gathering
|ON THE WALLS||Covered with students’ projectsEvidence of student collaboration
Signs, exhibits, or lists obviously created by students rather than by the teacher
Information about, and personal mementos of, the people who spend time together in this classroom
|STUDENTS’ FACES||Eager, engaged|
|SOUNDS||Frequent hum of activity and ideas being exchanged|
|LOCATION OF TEACHER||Typically working with students so it takes a few seconds to find her|
|TEACHER’S VOICE||Respectful, genuine, warm|
|STUDENTS’ REACTION TO VISITOR||Welcoming; eager to explain or demonstrate what they’re doing or to use visitor as a resource|
|CLASS DISCUSSION||Students often address one another directlyEmphasis on thoughtful exploration of complicated issues
Students ask questions at least as often as the teacher does
|STUFF||Room overflowing with good books, art supplies, animals and plants, science apparatus; “sense of purposeful clutter”|
|TASKS||Different activities often take place simultaneouslyActivities frequently completed by pairs or groups of students|
|AROUND THE SCHOOL||Appealing atmosphere: a place where people would want to spend timeStudents’ projects fill the hallways
Library well-stocked and comfortable
Bathrooms in good condition
Faculty lounge warm and inviting
Office staff welcoming toward visitors and students
Students helping in lunchroom, library, and with other school functions
Copyright © 1996, 1999 by Alfie Kohn. This article may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author’s name). Permission must be obtained in order to reprint this article in a published work or in order to offer it for sale in any form. Please write to the address indicated on the Contact Us page.
(Of course the Zappa-Loving-Librarian in me wanted this quote at the top….
“If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.”
― Frank Zappa )
This series was inspired by all the great people at my son’s school who have made a difference in his life.