What do you do?
I often wonder where guiding becomes restricting. I am unsure how tools of reflection become tools of assessment and then evolve into dogma. It happens though.
My goal is to construct things that help people think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. The reality seems to be that many people need some scaffolding to do that. There are a variety of reasons for that. I think in some cases it’s just a way of providing some shoulders to stand on, not necessarily the shoulders of giants but a least a boost above starting from scratch.
I don’t believe that roots out creativity or individualism unless it’s done incredibly wrong (which often happens) but that’s an application of formula, of recipes, instead of an attempt to create reflection and conversation around pedagogy and concepts. I think the latter can be done but it’s much easier to do the former. To dictate that a course will contain X, Y and Z- always. And that those structural components somehow create worth and quality. I believe that path leads to stagnation and death. It creates a thin ice of believable competency. Underneath that ice lurks a lot of dark, cold water. I feel the same way about a lot of edtech stuff. It creates just enough of a veneer to allow people to mislead themselves that what they are seeing is far better than what it is. IWBs often being a prime example.
I believe we are at a time and place where scale and speed matters. It is not a good time to be a public school teacher.
Maybe I’m being melodramatic but I’ve talked to quite a few education vendors. They aren’t laying people off. They aren’t cutting salaries. Business is great. Educational consultants are hiring. BlackBoard is on a buying spree and Pearson is teaming up with Florida Virtual School. For profit charter schools are riding a wave of media2 into the hearts and minds of America. It’s a great time to be an education vendor.
Meanwhile, pupil-teacher ratios are rising, salaries are frozen, teachers are laid off. Public opinion of the profession and the institution is low. Gallup has education being of greater concern to Americans than war, immigration and lack of money. Seriously.
We have to turn the corner here and I believe we have to do it with speed.