Shorter discussions on the pathways and purpose of progressive education.
I stepped back into my classroom for the 11th year after another summer of learning and growth. I was armed with new ideas, a thicker suit of armor to protect my sensitive empath soul, and, of course, a heart full of unconditional love. I ditched my plans to go over the syllabus on my first day, choosing instead to have students engage in a series of stations to break up the monotony of their day, giving them a chance to move rather than to sit and get.
As we’re kicking off another exciting year of education, I’m making my annual trip to the store to resupply our classroom. And each year, I reflect on what I could buy to make my space a little more equitable for all — whether that be small things we’re unable to get at home, or just little things that make my space slightly more human-centered.
If you are an arts educator whose students have presented work to the public, you have probably heard something like this. On the one hand, it is a lovely sentiment. Someone has consumed the play, art show, concert, dance recital, etc. that your students made, and they have enjoyed it. And the compliment seems meant to extend to you: the students did well, and therefore, so did you.
Deep dives into fundamental shifts in the education system.
There is a growing misconception that giving a child the best start in life means unlocking their academic potential as early as possible. Increasingly, kindergartens are sacrificing playtime for greater academic seat time in pursuit of distant future rewards. Career ready kindergarten has arrived.
“Gamification” is a popular buzzword — whether it be corporations wanting users to excitedly spend money or educators motivating students through extrinsic rewards. Consistently, well-meaning educators are seeking gamification to encourage students to meet their standards.
I’ve written about the issues with gamification and whether or not it’s good pedagogy (I don’t believe it is in its widely used state.) However, that does not mean game design has no place in the classroom.
My aspiration is to be iterative and creative, working to empower the individual while ensuring that whatever we cook up aligns “true” to the progressive framework THS has in place. Which brings me to the thrust of what I wanted to speak to in this post: Robert Kegan’s developmental theory and its potential relevance to the crazy world of the college search and selection process.
Each month, the Human Restoration Project chooses books that we believe are paramount for progressive educators to read. These are not necessarily categorized or numbered by importance, relevance to a certain topic, or release date. Instead, these are the books we’ve read recently to inform our own practice and publications.
Free School Teaching: A Journey into Radical Progressive Education by Kristan Accles Morrison is an exemplar of what self-directed, progressive schooling looks like. Morrison, a traditional educator turned learning partner, writes of her experiences at the Albany Free School in New York. Within, she details every facet of a free school education — from discipline to grading to curriculum, often with initial bewilderment that turns to amazement at what children can do without the traditional path. In many ways, Morrison is deprogrammed from a stern, legacy-style teacher to one who embraces the free school philosophy.
“The trigger for white rage, inevitably”, writes Anderson, “is black advancement”, and Anderson follows both black advancement and white rage through the most explosive periods in America’s racial history, which the reader comes to understand through the brutal clarity and consistent facts of the historical narrative to be the story of an entitled white supremacy…
We Got This is a fresh take on critical pedagogy that’s approachable for the everyday educator. Its visuals, accessibility, and narrative-driven framework introduces the concept for educators unfamiliar with equitable democratic classrooms, and offers further support for those who are pushing this line of work. It’s not alienating nor demeaning to those who have lost their way. As a result, this book is just as great a gift for a jaded instructor to an exhausted, but beloved educator. Read this!