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…


8 thoughts on “#ontsm

  1. The highlight for me was to meet and hold Calista. She’s a real cutie. I noticed that she slept through most of it and I thought inwardly that she was probably bored to tears. When she gets old enough to go to school, we’ll have it all figured out. So, why should she put forth the effort now!

  2. I agree. It’s going to be good. Also, always remember that your girls’ most important teachers are mom and dad anyway. So, guaranteed to have a great education;)

  3. I was thinking the exact same thing at one point during the day – trying to recall what I truly ‘learned’ at school that was content specific 🙂 But what I did remember were experiences, people, events, tragedies, laughing … I also remember reading, being read too, games, experiments, debates, writing, sharing, singing, jumping and running – all things that I still love today … 🙂

  4. It was very powerful for me to have the babe with us on Saturday. I, too, wonder all the time (as a parent of 10 and 12 year old boys) about what their experience is going to look like, and how it will continue to change (I hope). I agree with you that we need to think about teaching the “how” of learning, and not the “what”, which I think is what you’re getting at.

    You’ve created an amazing wishlist, and one that I think I’d like to carry with me for a while, and occasionally look at to think about what I’m creating for my students. And Royan’s right – you’re already giving your girls the skills they need to reach those goals.

  5. Jamie,

    I had to end my day with many of the folks with whom I started this journey in 2009. Geesh, has it been that long? Familiar faces, and ever evolving ideas and thoughts. I’d have to admit, I don’t spend a lot of time with that kind of an “all-star” team very often. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m surrounded by very smart people every day at my school but having cut my teeth in the social media realm with many from your table, I do feel at home there.

    When Brian started to talk about his take on where the culture of learning is, I just had to jump in with my 2 cents worth. I’m used to the silence that ensued after my comment. Funny, while the discussion was just starting out, Colin was looking up his post from a while back on the future of his new son Andrew’s education. I chimed in there too.

    You have a great list there for your girls. First and foremost is a love to learn. After all, we are all still learning. And it will likely be the same for your girls and Colin’s son.

    Thanks for the mention in your blog post and it was great to finally meet Calista!

  6. I’ve been thinking the same kinds of things. It’s the kind of thing that parent/educators must all ponder at some point. The questions we ask are huge, and I’m not convinced that the broader culture and society is one of learning, or that many (not even all) have an idea about what learning could be for all. It’s a bit depressing sometimes to be honest… After The Agenda thingy I put some thoughts down about it too.

    Parents. We never stop worrying. 🙂

    Thanks for continuing the chat, and it was great to see you and Cali!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s