Not that ironic

Published by Lori Pickert on February 9, 2010 at 03:18 PM

Why should we be working toward incorporating more real-life tasks, carefully structured group work and multidisciplinary projects in our classrooms? For one thing, the countries that are eating our lunch in those international tests use them — and their assessments reflect the higher-level thinking skills involved, too. And because well-done inquiry learning is centered on, reinforces and integrates the acquisition of useful knowledge. Ironically, many homeschoolers take their children out of public schools so they can adopt wholesale progressivism: long-term projects, lots of field trips, passionate pursuit of individual interests.

So why do some people insist — obstinately persevere in asserting — that project-based learning is fluff? That inquiry is an “ed school orthodoxy”? That discovery learning has nothing in common with a rich, planned curriculum?

— Nancy Flanagan, Fluff and Nonsense


Comment by Kellyi on February 9, 2010 at 10:26 PM

It's fear of the unknown. Schools are schools. For the vast majority (in the UK anyway) curriculum is decided by people in government who rarely, if ever, set foot inside a classroom. To suggest that education and learning are two seperate things is madness to them.

I direct you to a recent blog post of one of Britains Ladies, Baroness Deech:

This is a supposedly educated person, who seems so narrow minded about what education should be that any thing other than traditional schooling is unworkable.

We in the UK are fighting a huge battle at the moment against the government who want to take the right of home educating away from the parent and pass it to the state, and make all home educators apply for a license in the future.

Wish us luck. Right now we really need it.

Comment by amy on February 9, 2010 at 11:20 PM

I am so grateful my kids got into the school they did. (charter school-->lottery) periodically we get letters from the teachers, and my younger sons' teachers (he's in the K/1 level) explain how they are learning math, for example, through actual hands-on activities and centers and so on, not through books or worksheets, and how the children start school with so much knowledge based on their activities at home, actual life, and they try to build on that in the classroom, and I always get the sense that these are a teeny bit defensive, or maybe proactively trying to deflect any criticism that they are NOT using textbooks and worksheets. And I just say, Hurrah! Yes! Thank you! So for an "all about me" project, the kids measured each other with different units, for example, and graphed how many kids in the class had what color hair and liked what kinds of ice cream... you get the idea.

I am so grateful the teachers are doing things I would like to do, if I didn't have a toddler, if I had more energy, and even better, my kids are doing these things with other children, which they both really were missing. Win-win.

However, if we didn't get into that school? We'd still be homeschooling, crazy active into-everything toddler (& flat-out exhausted mama) and all.

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