When I first heard about Coetail it was friends working at the ISB (Bangkok). Some were taking the course, some were thinking about the course, and some where trying to figure out if they would be forced to take the course. The last group of course, are members of the group that are still trying to figure out why they can’t teach like they have always taught. The first group are the ones I have always envied on some level. Willing to dive right in, give things a go, and set the bar for the rest of us. I finally stepped in the same group as those thinking about the course. Jeff said there would be an on-line program. Egad! Where did all my good excuses go? You know the ones. “Oh no, it isn’t in my area.” “I don’t live in a place with good internet service.” Well, Jeff put it in my area (on-line) and we have decent service here in Tunis. Time to jump in the pool – the deep end — Jeff has promised a life jacket. God, I hope so.
One of my hesitations has always been how to open up the classroom. How can I and my fellow teachers, disrupt our classrooms? Dr. Christensen makes a compiling argument for doing just this in his article “Disrupting Class: Student-Centric Education Is the Future”. However, we spend hours in curriculum meetings, meetings with grade levels, writing Atlas maps so that all is the same. Meeting the standards in a way that parents see that their child is getting an equal education. If ones team isn’t into disruption – or ones admin – those Atlas maps are going to look much like the lesson plans of 10 years ago.
Both Will Richardson and Dr. Christensen make the point that most adults don’t learn sitting in a staid classroom. Tis true. I read a while. Go get a snack. Check e-mails. Put together the materials for a unit I am planning. Go for coffee. I have the attention span of a gnat. Why do I expect students to sit focused on my idea of interesting for 45 minutes to an hour? Silly me. In talking to Julie Bredy, another member of this cohort who happens to work at my school, it occurred to me that I am in the perfect spot now to cause some disruption in my life. I am the ONLY elementary librarian here. My classes aren’t graded – nothing shows up on the report cards as Library grade. Now I suppose I have no more excuses. I have been suckered in by Richardson, Christensen, Utecht, and Joyce Valenza (the most hyper-active super librarian you will ever meet).
I am looking for some good ideas – got any?