Five Things I’ve Learned

I got this idea from Ewan Mcintosh (@mcintosh, who was one of the first educators to contribute to the site Five Things I’ve Learned sponsored by the Pearson Initiative.
Here are my five things…

1. My students are not digital natives.
Just because some students have been around computers since they were born doesn’t magically make them better. If this was the case then I should have been an automotive native, since I’ve been around cars all my life. In fact I would argue that those of us my age and a little bit older (I’m 43) would be the true natives as we’ve seen much of the development of personal computers within our lifetimes. This assumes that we’ve used computers all of our lives and many of my peers thought computers were geeky when they were first available to us.

2. Classroom management systems don’t work for me and my students.
The key words being “for me and my students”. They may work for some students and teachers but I find that they are to restrictive. What works for me is my expectations and the understanding that I will treat each individual with respect and care.

3. It’s not acceptable to be non- proficient with technology as a teacher.
I’m still surprised by teachers who aren’t proficient with basic tools of technology. Worse yet some don’t seem to think that their students need to be proficient. Technology is not going away, parents (often) aren’t teaching the skills, so it’s up to teachers to make it happen. Can you imagine a teacher saying they don’t know how to read or write?

4. Teachers need to make connections beyond their classroom and school walls.
Professional development at the school and district level is not enough to keep one up to date with new ideas in education. Today it is too easy to make connections around the world. These connections can bring new ideas, insight and perspective.

5. I think the key for improving education is individualization.
All students are different. Why do we insist on grading and evaluating them by their date of birth? This doesn’t happen anywhere else in their lives. I haven’t got my grade 38 report card yet, have you gotten yours? I’m not sure how to make the change to more individualization of school, but the current drive towards standardization of all students is just going to turn off more students to learning.

So there’s my five. What are yours?

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