Will points to Brook’s essay “Stressed for Success?”.  Will says “that Brooks is not kind to public education and accuses the system of “trying to whittle you down into a bland, complaisant achievement machine.” I think that unfortunately, there’s some truth there.” Will closes with this question, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could create an environment that nurtured that exploration in kids instead of deadened them with conformity?”

I say yes, yes, yes. Unfortunately, our curriculum in schools just does not allow this. We are on such a lock-step method of teaching objectives that we never seem to have time to stop, reflect, and discuss what we are learning. I call it a skill-a-day, or should I say, skill-an-hour classroom and I hate it. No wonder creativity is going out the window along with writing in our classrooms. I think a love of learning has to be nutured, fostered, and developed throughout their school days – PreK to High School and ever after. 

I have a four year old grandson and he is bringing worksheets home. Aaaarrrgh! This is a kid who has a cool imagination and a body that needs to romp around exploring everything he can find. Paper and pencil should be thrown out the window at this age! We have after-school programs that again go over the same skills they had all day. We have kids who are not getting the skills and we never think about teaching less skills and providing time to apply some of those skills to discussions where they can make connections to what they have learned, develop passions and then have time to explore, and see the value and joy of learning.

I wish we could get away from our test-driven craze and realize that if we really want to put the joy of learning back in our classrooms we need to focus on models that emphasize good thinking and skilled teaching. We need time for dialogue and reflection. Small classes, multiple forms of assessment, and valuing the educator and the student with a whole lot more than lip-service wouldn’t hurt either.