I firmly believe that a strong and appropriate humanitarian education system, well researched and implemented, aligned from pre-birth through adult, provided equally for ALL people, monitored and evaluated both formatively and summatively, will result in a free country with liberty and justice for all.
October 15, 2018 Education Entry
A SALUTE TO TEACHERS
When was the last time you . . .
-visited your child's classroom?
-visited your grandchild's classroom?
-thought deeply, really deeply, about how you learned to write? About how you learned to add, subtract, divide, or do advanced math? About how you learned the geography of the world? About how you were introduced to the science of water, your body, electricity? About how you learned to work in groups? About how you learned to cooperate and collaborate with other people in groups who were a different color than you, who had a different spiritual faith than you may have been taught or been exposed to at home? About how you learned to _________ (you fill in the blank)?
And when was the last time you reached out and thanked a teacher that you have had or that you have watched teach?
I have always had a deep appreciation for teachers. Many former teachers of mine won't believe the previous statement, and many others are probably rolling over in their graves! But maybe there are a few believers? I hope so! But at this point in my life, I don't think that I really care. It is what it is.
To kick off this topic , I am going to talk about a teacher I witnessed just a few days ago. I visited his classroom for an afternoon. Joel Falk teaches 5th grade at Gonzalez Community School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I obtained permission from Joel to use his name in this writing as well as the permissions of the principal and assistant principal. They all three told me that I could mention their names as long as I did not mention kid's names nor take or post pictures of kids. And I know better than doing this without first getting parents' permission and the school's permission!
I travel quite a bit working as I do as a consultant in education. Whenever I visit a locale, I try to find out as much as I can about some aspect of education or "learning" in the area. After interviewing several people about the schools in Santa Fe, hearing both the perceived positives and the perceived negatives, I wanted to visit a public school classroom and see for myself. There are quite a few private schools in Santa Fe and I visited one last year and wrote about it in this website (please see The Waldorf School). So now, a public school classroom.
When I got to the school in the early afternoon, I went through security in the office, and then was escorted to Joel's classroom by an office staff person. Three students were standing by a screen and were giving a report to the rest of the class (I counted 19 students) which seemed to me to be a combination social studies/science/language arts/technology/public speaking report. How is that for teaching across the curriculum to the whole child? The students had been placed by Joel in teams of 3 students to a team several days or weeks earlier and their assignment was to research a particular topic (for example, a hurricane, or the moon landing, etc.) and develop a slide show on the topic. They made their own slides, and put them on a flash drive which they gave to Joel who saved the slides in an electronic combined format. Each team, with all 3 students taking turns speaking, gave an oral report along with the slides which were advanced by Joel from his desk. After each report, the students answered questions that were asked by the audience (the other students). After about 15 minutes, the team presenting sat down and the next team gave their report. These kids were what I would call "typical" of kids in Santa Fe, that is, representing different ethnicities, from homes with a range of different income levels, a range of abilities, 2-parent homes and single parent homes, both boys and girls, etc. This is a "public" school meaning that if a parent or guardian has registered the child, then the school serves the child. In spite of all of these differences, Joel kept the kids on task and focused. All appeared to be learning from the exercise. To be continued. . .
February 1, 2017 Education Entry
As with the "Writing" menu tab, I will make posts on education periodically on the "Education" tab. This posting may be an opinion of mine, based on research I have done, or a post on education from a guest. All posts are to be on improving education, from pre-birth through adult.
I have been in the business of education for over 50 years but of course there is much about education that I do not know. We must all be continually learning! And using this learning for the good of humanity. There are many different educational methodologies and practices in the United States and worldwide. I find it exciting to study and learn about these different methodologies and practices!
Recently I had the good fortune to be given a tour of the Santa Fe, New Mexico Waldorf School. I was amazed by what I learned and what I saw. Waldorf schools seek to educate the whole student, from preschool through high school, based on humanitarian principles--at least this is the impression I got from my brief 2-hour tour of the school and listening to Waldorf educators describe their practices to me. They say that the schooling that they provide the students is schooling for the head, hands, and heart. For example, playing music is part of each day's activities in all the grades. And, from the fourth grade on, all students learn to play a musical instrument. All students plant a garden. Each class, under the direction of its teacher, stages a play during the year. These are just some of the examples I either witnessed or were explained to me.
I left the school with the thought that all students worldwide ought to be able to enjoy the benefit of attending a school that seeks to provide a way for the complete development of each student's full potential. A schooling of the head, hands, and heart. Of course, we all know that unfortunately this is only happening for a very small percentage of children worldwide. But it should happen for all children! And it could if adults would but work together cooperatively and collaboratively.
Since my exposure to the Santa Fe Waldorf School, I decided to research the Waldorf methods more thoroughly and this took me to the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) website. After much research and study of the Waldorf methods in this website, the reader is invited to make comments and post them on the Waldorf website. The following is my post on their website on February 1, 2018:
"Our world is in perilous times! People are struggling; countries are struggling. There are grabs for power and domination everywhere. Countries are seeking to destroy each other culturally, socially, educationally, physically, morally, ethically, and in so many other ways. Survival of the fittest. Wars are happening, millions are being killed. AND WHAT DOES THIS SAY TO OUR CHILDREN? It tells them that adults are out of control, that nothing makes sense! It destroys children. And this will destroy the world!"
"Education is the only way out! Education is the only way to survive and progress. We, as adults, must seek to provide an ethical, moral, and compassionate developmental education for ALL children worldwide. We are all human. We all have intrinsic value. We must develop and practice better ways! I have been an educator for 50 years and I am studying Waldorf education methods and practices, along with many others. I have dedicated my life to this pursuit. Please see my website davidhaineseducationandwriting.com. Please join/communicate with me."