Having just found this Ning, I was asked why I wanted to join the "Future of Education?" I was intriqued immediately by the question as my first response was " Why wouldn't I?" and its follow-up question "Why wouldn't EVERY teacher?"
This question has been pushing me to my "leading edge" (Thanks Joelle!) for quite some time now.
What IS the future of education? I think it is reigniting educational curiosity, questioning truths while respecting others, and developing ethical decision making at younger and younger ages. It also is nurturing a passion for lifelong learning - regardless of perceived limitations.
I've always been someone who is curious and was called precocious as a child (this was the "nice" term for a child who wouldn't listen and follow directions!) Oh, I also didn't like to color within the lines and I would wander away a lot and say I was "exploring."
What causes some children to want to follow things to the letter and other to be explorers? Do we encourage exploration in our learners? Do we need to? Has this rebel spirit been changed and turned over to the Dark Side?
In our haste for measurable results, are we killing creativity, ethics and/or morals? Why are videos game communities increasing and organized "real life" sports decreasing? Perhaps it is in HOW these games are played?
Game theory is the basis of all games, and as I would propose, all learning, but how this learning is expressed, well that's where the problems crop up.
It seems as if learning problems are not just in schools. They are in sports, music, dance, business, daycare, grocery stores, highways, it is everywhere. What is today's society's obsession with order? Why are we trying so hard to control chaos? Has no one heard that there is order in chaos?
I have been struck by this most recently in watching my three youngest children play baseball, at how in trying to control children, it makes them want to "rebel" more - but in a bad way. Sport seems to now be for controlling children, instead of being an active expression of movement and working as a team. It seems to be for parents to exercise their own inadequacies by pushing and having, in my opinion, too much control over sport.
My unique gift is that I have 5 children, ranging from age 18 to 4. I am married to a former Division 1 baseball player who wanted to play two sports but was told he could only play one for fear of "hurting himself." Too bad he was hurt. Because, in an absurd quest for "winning" he lost - tearing his rotator cuff due to too much pitching with too little rest.
I could have been a "baller", and was heavily recruited to play D1 women's basketball, played and practiced with the team, but chose, in the end not to. See I had another gift too, I was smart, and there was no WNBA back then, so I chose the academic scholarship route and played intramural sports - lots of different ones.
I have been through the "Little League" process before and have had a heartbroken child who left baseball at 14 not wanting to play anymore. He was tired of politics and the win at all costs mentality. He wanted, like his grandfather and mother, to be a 3 letter winner - in different sports. He wanted to play music. He wants to be a physicist and engineer. He wants to be an entrepreneur.
I had my now 16 year old daughter quit baseball at age 6 after getting a big trophy, because it wasn't fun anymore, renter at 10 as a girls softball player, be unsuccessful at making a high school team at age 15 and then try a totally new sport this past winter! She also loves music, social causes, student government, languages and "exploring."
So in Little League V2011, I have my 4, 8 and 9 year olds "playing." Therein lies the rub.
My 4 year old son is really interested in pleasing the coaches and in chatting with the other players, regardless of team affiliation. He is a joy on the field and just is so excited to play every game. My husband and I wonder aloud why it has to change - and also if it has to.
My 8 year old daughter, the only girl on her team, is really trying to prove herself to be just as good as the boys and yet seems to be missing what is uniquely her strongest power - her difference.
My 9 year old son, nursing a purposely inflicted partially torn ACL, is trying to get the love of sport rekindled in his heart, after at such a young age having to deal with the bad lesson, being taught and encouraged by some coaches and parents of winning at all costs.
This has been my quandary - helping him - and all of his siblings - understand why someone would do that to him. I have no answer. It makes me sad when I even have to think about it.
It has been an extremely difficult 6 months for him. Thankfully, the pain passed quickly, but his psyche has been irreparably damaged, by a child, his own age, who was encouraged, to "take out his knee" in order to prevent another goal.
As an educator, I find this trend, in sport, in school and in life, extremely troubling.
In academia, it started, I guess, when Ivy students would purposely hide textbook during finals week, starting this academic slippery ethical slide, into "winning" at all costs.
Now the infamous 1st part of 2 1/2 Men, has made "winning" a statement of sarcastic irony.
Perhaps it always was...