The Breakfast Club
In my last post Dreams do come true if you persevere, my vision of an experiential passion based classroom have come true I gave an overview of the two credit course that I am facilitating called The Experiential Passion Based Study of Child Development and Gerontology. This course is a mish mash of bits and pieces that I have taken from the Independent Project, Iowa Big, Don Wettricks Innovation and Open source learning class and Blue Sky school. If you want the day by day on what happens, check out the last post.
Everyday I am so thankful that I get to work with these students. Each and everyone of them has their own unique story and it is amazing to watch them all shine in and outside of the classroom. Since we are a two credit course we spend a lot of time together. We do a lot of reflecting, discussing, podcasting and supporting of each others passion projects.
The other day we were having one of our informal discussions and one of the students said, “I really feel like this class is like The Breakfast Club, we all come from different groups and backgrounds but we are getting to know each other and we are talking to people that we probably would never have talked to if it wasn’t for this class”. He had no idea how much of a compliment that was to me, I had goosebumps.
Disruption is necessary
However, on the daily I hear about the rumours and discussions that go on behind closed doors about me and what is happening in my classroom. My normal is not everyone’s normal – I get that. I understand that what I am doing challenges people’s identities as educators. I know that I am relentless in getting my way and that I am a disruptor to “how we do things here”. I understand that change takes time, but here’s the thing – we don’t have time.
According to an article from Global News, “While Canada’s economy is on track to add 2.4 million jobs over the next four years, virtually all of them will require a different set of skills than young people are currently learning. According to the study, a growing demand for “human skills” will be more crucial across job sectors. In particular, critical thinking, coordination, social perceptiveness, active listening and complex problem solving — described in the report as “human skills” — were identified as being key characteristics Canadians should develop to prepare for changes to the workforce.”
Unfortunately many educators still believe that rote learning, direct instruction and testing are what is needed to prepare students for the future. The more I research about the future of work, it is evident that simply put, they are wrong.
A recently published article How to make high schools better for students outlines research conducted by Jahl Mehta (associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Sarah Fine (High Tech High Graduate School of Education).
“Our research in 30 public high schools across the country found that great high schools share something essential in common: They cultivate mastery, creativity and identity. In other words, students in these schools are given regular opportunities to develop significant knowledge and skills, to use their knowledge to produce something original, and to connect their learning to who they are and who they seek to become. The presence of these qualities produces deep engagement — the thing that educators so often struggle to foster.”
“Unfortunately, these qualities are fairly rare in American high schools today.” (this would go for Canadian schools too, in my opinion) In most of the schools we observed — even those with reputations for being innovative — students saw little purpose or meaning in what they were doing. Some were defiant; others made sophisticated attempts to “play the game of school.” Very few, however, described their schools as places where they could thrive. National studies confirm that the bulk of high school students are bored at school daily.”
The Call to Courage – Brene Brown Netflix Special Brené Brown
Sometimes I give too much time to the naysayers, according to Brené Brown it is only human to want to be liked. However, after watching Brown’s Netflix special called the Call to Courage I am going to try and focus on and surround myself with positive people. I am going to live by the three things she learned from doing her TED Talk on Vulnerability. NOTE If you have not seen this yet, it is a MUST!! Thank you Logan for suggesting I watch it!!
I vow to live by the following and never feel shame because I do:
- I am going to live in the arena, I’m going to be brave with my life, I’m going to show up and I am going to take chances. I am going to fall, fail and know heartbreak.
- I am going to be vulnerable, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.
- And finally to the critics, if you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion because you are being brave, I’m not interested in or open to your feedback about my work.
It is time for all educators to be brave, vulnerable and courageous for the future of our students and society in general. Who is with me?
I can promise you this from my journey, it is messy, it is chaotic and it is scary. But on the flip side I get to hang out with The Breakfast Club and it is so worth it.
Thanks for unlearning with us.
Cheers, R 🙂
Mehta, Jahl, and Sarah Fine. “How to Make High Schools Better for Students.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2019, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mehta-fine-education-high-school-excellence-20190426-story.html.
Vomiero, Jessica. “Half of Canadian Jobs Will Be Impacted by Automation in next 10 Years.” Global News, 26 Mar. 2018, globalnews.ca/news/4105713/automation-workforce-canada-human/.