Friday, February 1, 2008

A Manifesto

The idea of creating a manifesto comes from Christian Long: The future of Learning Manifesto. Christian is a brilliant and humble thinker (no, Christian, you should not offer apologies because I read your blog!)

My manifesto (declaration of intentions and beliefs):

1. Teach students not to just use tools but to leverage tools to their benefit.

This is discussed by Marc Prensky in Programming: The new literacy. Just watching my son play is the proof. He works to use the tool, but when he makes the tool work for him, that is something completely different.

2. Teach and learn to be able to question and let that drive learning and thought. This is more important than a bunch of facts.

I discussed this in another post below
. It is critical thinking and crucial for effective science education that transcends not just learning science, but in understanding the world we live in.

3. Confront obstacles. I have a lapel button: But we have always done it this way. Of course it has a nice red circle around it with a red line through it.

Enough said. I was an honor student and learned my fair share of content. It really did not get me anywhere. I had to talk with people who understood what I was saying. How I used it and where I made my connections has made me who I am today. Students need to know that is important. Have we forgotten that?

4. Help students be the best they can be.

Talk with them, not at them. Find out what makes them tick. Listen to their heads and their hearts. I need to listen to mine more as well (ooh - a science teacher with a heart. Not sure I clue into it enough).

5.Walk the walk.

Students have always brought our inability to follow rules or adhere to what we say to our attention. Students can't just hear what we want them to do. They need to see how it affects us. My kids see the passion. (Some think I am nuts). They see my other passions too. I know what I am talking about and they love the stories that I have. My poor example: I am teach them blog commenting and then fall short on my own.

6. Teach and learn the techniques

Don't just tell them to google it - show them how. Give them the skills to leverage the tools to their potential. Learn from the others out there. I will always have something to learn.

7. Location, location, location.

We are in a remote area with a homogeneous community. I cannot travel a lot as well. But that does not have to stop myself or my students. Building a network is slow. I am impatient. I am an un-confident voice. I feel outside the loop. It will come. I will benefit from the paths I am laying now and the world will crack open that much more. My students will reap those rewards.

8. Push for a new type of Professional Development to be officially recognized.

If I am learning so much by reading feeds and blogging, why does it not count officially? I could be in Professional Development run from my school and find more information reading blogs and talking on twitter at that time.

9. I am new to this. Admit it because my students know it.

I don't have to teach some students. They get technology and smile (That is so cute, look what Mrs. Maine learned to do!). They teach each other. I need to let them teach me, tell me what to use, tell me what we should do, release the need to control the class.

10.Remember we are all just learning.

That is the name of the game. We all learn and teach. Be real and admit that. I stated in a class that I did not know the answer. Gasp! That is okay, human, and real.

I should save this to edit later as I am not finished. The list was quick and obviously will change (and should be written differently but it is a conversation with myself). But I am under deadlines and know I won't complete it for awhile. Besides, this is mine. Eventually it will move to an about me segment on my blog or on my learning wiki.

Technorati tags: Christian Long, Marc Prensky, education, manifesto, critical thinking

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