From Education Week:
"No matter how frequently or how beautifully you describe the joys of childhood, those who are making education policy will not be deterred or persuaded. Their agenda is competitiveness. They are in the throes of data-driven decision-making, which has become a sort of mantra that takes the place of actual thinking."
So that's what I worry about: Are we letting children even have "joys of childhood" anymore? And, by "children", I mean K-12. Teenagers need joy too, as I wrote about here. Is the replacement of toys, music instruments, dress-up clothes, and stuffed animals in childhood classrooms with math manipulatives and leveled reading books creating a love of school?
I don't know. But I think we need all of it.
Here is what I wonder:
Why do we always have to have joy couched in another, measurable, agenda?
If a project in art turns out to be too tedious, joyless, and not fulfilling to the majority of students, I scrap it. Done deal. I will find another way to teach those concepts the next time. Joy, itself, matters. It matters to me because happy students are engaged and focused people who are delighted to be learning.
|Weaving project begins- an expert enthusiastically telling me all he knows about spiders.|
We all remember a Mrs. Alexander, that one teacher, the educator who instilled joy into that subject you thought you disliked. The teacher who made learning joyful. Not because it was measurable, required, or part of a test, but because seeing your students' joy is cyclical- it becomes the teacher's joy, which in turn becomes student joy, ever forward into a love of learning which drives itself- not towards a test, but towards curiosity, investigation, and true understanding.