Sunday, April 14, 2013

In Search of Commonsense: It's Far Less Common than It Once Was...

Having recently celebrated my Golden Anniversary as a teacher/educator in K12 and Higher-Ed, I find myself more puzzled than ever. You'd think experience and training would reduce my puzzlement, but for me, it's only added to the growing list of my unanswered questions.

Lately, I find myself a Popeye (if needed, you youngsters out there can Google it), wondering what to do about the blustering Blutos and irresponsibile Wimpys of the K12 world who still don't get it. 



The Man of Spinach was fond of saying when he had been forced to his limits, "That's alls I can take! I can't stands it no more!" I can't either. 

There is no free lunch, folks You have to earn it. If you want a hamburger tomorrow, you'd better work today.

Likewise, if we want skills we can use tomorrow, we need to learn them today. We are, each of us, responsible for earning our own education. 

I found this inspiring and insightful video courtesy of my Twitter colleagues this morning. Watch it. It's what we want our learners to be able to do instead of taking more standardized adieus about nothing.





If you can teach, you truly know it. No standardized test, no test, period, can ever show what learners know, better than the learners actually showing what they know. Listening helps a learner and so does watching. But nothing beats doing. When you do, you understand. Show us what you know.

Let's be clear: It's not about more testing of non-standard learners. It's not about trying to make students more standard by using useless bits from tests that are standardized. We are all different. Our needs are different. So are our goals.

Lack of learning is not the fault of parents, although they can help. It is not the fault of teachers, but they can assist us too. We all need to work today for what we want tomorrow.

The responsibility to learn falls first in the hands of the learners. Each and everyone of them needs to create, own, follow and report on their own personal learning plan. They need to tell us what they know (who knows better than they do?), what they don't know (repeat the last question) and what help they need to master their learning goals.

Mark Twain said, "Commonsense isn't near as common as most folks think." We've been looking in all the wrong places. If you want commonsense, or even uncommon sense tomorrow, you've got to start working on it today.


3 comments:

Kristy said...

Couldn't agree more Tom!! Can't wait to implement in class someday!

Tom King said...

Kristy,

I think I know you well enough to say: "You will!"

Royce Holladay said...

Thanks for sharing this. @toughloveforx has pointed me to you--we are working on a very different way to think about schools--in the public school forum..It's about building adaptive capacity--generative teaching/learning.

We are in the Twin Cities...

Would you be interested in talking?