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What Have I Learned

I engaged in several virtual and face-to-face conversations over the past week about what learning and education should look like today. Gary Snyder summarized some of this in this thoughtful poem. I believe we need to focus more on the tools children need than the content. That is not to say content is not important.  It must stretch, challenge, and allow growth.

Curriculum has narrowed, become content, and the use of tools. It does not always focus on the proper use of tools and development of habits, skills, attitudes, practices, dispositions, etc. What role does discernment play in today’s schools? What eloquent questions, with no presumption of answers, are teachers and students alike asked? Content, in the form of knowledge and information, becomes the currency of the realm and wise application is often pushed aside. 21st Century education requires a mindful approach. An approach that recognizes the changing of the flowers in each moment.

What have I learned but

the proper use for several tools?

The moments

between hard pleasant tasks

To sit silent, drink wine,

and think my own kind

of crusty dry thoughts.

–the first Calochortus flowers

and in all the land,

it’s spring.

I point them out:

the yellow petals, the golden hairs,

to Gen.

Seeing in silence:

never the same twice,

but when you get it right,

you pass it on.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

17 responses »

  1. Thanks for visiting. Interesting blog. Will follow.

    Reply
  2. I couldn’t agree more than formal education should be more about introducing tools than indoctrinating content. Well said.

    Reply
  3. Standardized testing and universal curriculum standards along with encyclopedic text books in the K-12 curriculum, delight administrators and legislators, but frustrate faculty members and cheat the kids.

    If the students develop skills with “tools,” and bolster their motivation and imagination, they should consume content like the air they breathe.

    God bless,

    Don

    Reply
  4. With this approach, Ivon, children would start thinking so much more critically, and would begin to question every man-made idea-structure in existence. Society wouldn’t be what it is today, and I think that frightens many people. Keep humanity in a safe but illusory box, and everyone feels secure. I wish your approach would come to pass.

    Reply
    • I am finding more interest in it as I talk with people and listen to what others have to say. The idea has been out there for some time so I think it is important to keep pressing forward.

      Reply
  5. Dear Ivon, I tried to figure out how to send you a personal note, could not find a way, other than commenting…
    I would like to ask you a favor to help me spread the word:
    I organize a creative workshop in France in September and figured out, that it would be much more fun if people who can not travel to France could participate online.
    The idea: I post a creative challenge in the morning on my blog and in the evening we will exchange our work on the blog. http://www.whosaidelephantscantfly.com

    Why? Because doing art and being creative opens our hearts and makes us happier. People with an open heart and who are happy be¬come more compassionate in the long run.
    The world needs more creative and compassionate minds & hearts.

    I would love to hear from you.
    Thank you for your work & your creative spirit
    Heike

    Reply
  6. So beautiful

    Reply
  7. A very good learning moment to ponder…you hit the nail on the head my friend!

    Reply
  8. Always good tot have silence, flowers and passing beauty and poetry on…

    Reply
  9. Totally LOVED this one…focus on the content is important but not THE most important part of 21st century education..

    Reply

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