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Philosophical Meanderings

Learners ≠ consumers

Pillow fight by Indabelle

Pillow fight by Indabelle

Since returning from #ISTE11, I’ve struggled with writing about education. Given the tanked economy, our retrograde, juvenile government, and the epidemic breakout of strong-man/yes–man/straw-man educational dictatorships, I’ve felt a bit like Margot from “All Summer in a Day.”

We are living and working in a playground battlefield.

It’s insane.

In response, we need to make our classrooms sane places, where evidence of joy, learning, community, excellence, and authenticity are self-evident. We need to make our classrooms places where the cause-and-effect of what we do logically interrelate inside and outside the room – where learning isn’t a false scarcity and school isn’t a dealer’s showroom. We need to become first, second, and third followers of the public schools assessing students’ work instead of only analyzing students’ scores.

How do we do it? A million ways per child. The ways that work and make sense and make meaning. The ways that solve-problems and connect fulfillment with failure, stamina, mastery, virtue, inquiry, reflection, and action. The ways that promote community, democracy, empathy, equity, stewardship, and citizenry. The ways that allow complex student behavior to emerge from the long shadows of rote recall and uncritical compliance. The ways that champion justice and nuance at once.

We’ve been invited to apply to the audience of our own profession.

We’ve invited our children to the audience of their own education.

It’s time to storm the stage, ignore the stars, exit through the freight door, and see what we can learn outside this theater of the absurd that we’ve volunteered to usher for far too long.

It’s time again to attempt what is right, if not expedient.

Learners are not just consumers; this year – and every year – we must treat ourselves and our students better than that.

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About Chad Sansing

I teach for the users. Opinions are mine; content is ours.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Learners ≠ consumers

  1. “It’s time to storm the stage, ignore the stars, exit through the freight door, and see what we can learn outside this theater of the absurd that we’ve volunteered to usher for far too long.”

    Brilliant, Chad. Love the metaphor. Love the verbiage. But more importantly, I love the urgency and conviction that this will go beyond brilliant metaphors.

    Posted by johntspencer | August 15, 2011, 2:43 pm
    • Thanks, John. I hope to begin differently this year – with some experiential discovery and shaping of shared power and stewardship and maybe even the creation of some classroom furniture from recycled materials. A creation of our own civics that we can compare and contrast to the curricular civics. A teacher can dream.

      With gratitude,
      C

      Posted by Chad Sansing | August 15, 2011, 5:31 pm

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