Today I learned: all it takes is a warm cup of coffee and a really good Ted Talk to launch me deep into existential thought…consider this your warning before continuing!If I had to rate my current level of thought on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a Jerry Maguire.
When I watched Logan LaPlante’s TedX Talk on hackschooling, I was very impressed. Let me start off by saying any 13 year old that delivers a TedX Talk is defiantly worth listening to. LaPlante talked about hackschooling, his alternative to a traditional public education. From what I understand, the concept of hackschooling involves a lot of kinestetic learning and taking advantage of experiences that extend beyond the traditional four walled classroom. I consider myself to be a pretty open minded person, and agreed with a lot of what LaPlante had to say. I think that all kids learn differently. It’s our job as teachers to make our teaching fit their learning, not the other way around. I’m willing to try just about anything if it helps a student learn in the end!
That all being said, I have this nagging thought that I just can’t seem to let go. The idea that someone can “hack” their way to an education doesn’t totally settle with me. LaPlante explains that a hacker is someone that takes a situation and improves it, not a computer nerd that spams someone with viruses. However, when I think of a hack, I think of something different. I think of a life hack–some little trick to make a basic everyday task easier. Technology, has allowed us to control everyday tasks and do them in a way that suits us best. I can check out my own groceries. I can order my coffee ahead of time, and have it waiting for me when I walk through the door. Should education be put in that same category of connivence? I have to say, it scares me a little, to think that someone that didn’t study education for four years now has the resources to educate themselves or their children however they see fit.
I’m scared of becoming obsolete. I’m also tired of anyone and everyone deciding they have the authority to give the public school system a bad name. Don’t get me wrong–they public school system isn’t perfect, but it’s a big part of my passion. It’s part of what I’ve devoted the last four years of my life to, and I hate to see it criticized all the time. I feel like as time goes on and things change, the divide between the public and public education only grows. I’m scared that as a future public school teacher, I’m soon going to be seen as unnecessary, or optional in a person’s educational process.
That’s why, in the end, I side with LaPlante. As teachers, we need to embrace that every child learns differently. We need to take kinesthetic approaches to teaching. We need to remember that so much can be learned and taught when you go beyond the pages in a text book. Most importantly, this all needs to happen in the public schools. We need to adapt to today’s learners and close the divide between the public and the schools system. I know that all of this sounds way easier said than done, but I think we are approaching a point where a shift in how we educate is critical. Maybe I don’t have the power to change the way we educate kids as a whole, or change the feelings people have about public education. But, I’m going to try my hardest. Class by class, and child by child.