Yesterday I attended #ontsm which was a gathering of educators from Ontario with a focus on discussing social media in education.
It was a really interesting day full of rich discussion with some of my favourite people. The aspect of the day that spoke to me the most was a conversation I was a part of at the end of the day with some very passionate people. Within this conversation, we were really delving into the idea of a “culture of learning” (term courtesy of Kent Manning) and it got me thinking.
I don’t really know if we have a “culture of learning” in our education system. I can’t speak to other subjects or the elementary grades, but sometimes I wonder if what the students are “supposed to learn” is really that important. I might get myself into some hot water here with other educators, but honestly, I think back to my high school and university days and wonder what was the relevance of what I “learned” since I can’t remember much of it… How is that important? What did I learn? In many cases, I think the learning was how to compile information in my brain, spew it back to the teacher or professor and then promptly forget it. Doesn’t sound like learning to me…
During this conversation I was rocking my sleeping three month old daughter and it made me wonder about the education future for my girls. Are they going to learn things that are relevant and interesting to them? Are they going to feel it’s okay to make mistakes? Are we still going to have EQAO when they get to grades 3, 6 and 10? Unfortunately, I think the answer to this question is yes…)
I think the main issue at play in all of this is our cultural understanding of education and learning. We really do need to break down all our beliefs about education, learning, assessment and everything else related to education and start to think about what is truly important for our students and children.
Here are some of my hopes for my girls:
– they love to learn
– they each have an insatiable curiosity
– how to have a voice (using a variety of communication styles)
– that they possess compassion and empathy
– that they aren’t afraid to make mistakes
– that they try to do something on their own but look to others for help rather than give up
– that they see anyone as a teacher including themselves
– they explore every environment they encounter
– they value their family and friends
– are grateful
And finally, that they find something in life that they love and makes them happy.
Just some Sunday musings from this mommy/educator/learner…