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Friday, March 23, 2012

Educational Reform

         Two days ago, I went and saw Ken Robinson speak at MSU's Wharton Center.  Last night, I watched Henry Rollins speak at the Michigan Theatre near U of M. I have to admit that I was more impressed with what Henry Rollins had to say about education and reform then with what Sir Ken said.  Don't get me wrong, Sir Ken made some excellent points about what is wrong with our educational system-standards vs. standardizing for example.  However, I felt as though he was quick to point out all the failures of our current system and fell short at offering any potential solutions.  Henry Rollins on the other hand offered some ideas or at least some inspiration to me on where we can go from here.

         If it were possible, I would create a sort of Montessori charter school focused on independent study as well as group projects on ALL of the arts.  Here me out.  I think that a school that embraces all of the arts and humanities (and by that I am not just talking about math, science, music, etc. but I am also including graphic design, computer programming, literary arts, gaming, architecture, gastronomy, sculpture, etc.) will encourage creativity as a way of thinking (creative logic).  When Sir Ken spoke of creativity he made a great point that many people associate that only with being artistic (some who can draw, sing, etc.) and that is not what it means.  To create something incorporates building, designing, developing but it doesn't have to physically be something.  One constructs a logical math problem and solution, one develops a marketing plan, one builds a story, etc. I would want a school where experiments, collaboration, and technology were daily tasks, not something done as a lab as 1 part of a semester long lesson plan. I am not trying to criticize current school systems or teachers at all by saying this, but I think public schools do kill creativity (Sir Ken has spoken on this topic) and that we need to reinvent them. I believe that looking at things like gastronomy by way of a  community garden would be a large part of the picture as well-teaching altruism, the social sciences and philanthropy.

      Over the last few days I have been trying to develop a lesson plan and have created half of a plan on 3 different topics, none of which have seemed to work for me.  I think part of my "block" is that I am not currently in a classroom and the other part is that I am trying so hard to be creative!! Creativity should not be contrived, it needs to flow.

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