My last child attended ‘kindy-start’ this week. He was needless today excited. So I went along to see him join the ranks. My heart sank as I spotted him sitting in a row, with his first ever workbook. While I fully understand the need to him to learn to read and write – to be educated, I was truly saddened to see that functional literacy was there is fully un-technical, uncreative, unsocial glory. Welcome to education kid, I’m sorry.
We systematically enforce un-arts upon children in order to convince them that more-economically commutable subjects are more important. It is an epidemic it seems. I hate the workbook. In fact anything that isn’t being made and produced by kids and children is a commercial convenience.It’s lazy and requires teachers to subscribe to someone else’s view of how learning occurs (in ways you can buy).
It’s the fundamental problem with education – we are educating kids to take their place in the information economy. To children, there are no ‘electronic resources’ – there are just computers and websites, as there are workbooks and tables. Deal with it in ways other than ignoring it (please).
To compensate for this mentality of workbooks, sitting still and looking at one focus point (the teacher) – is to send the homework back – and use the time to undo the meaningless, uni-structural mehness of primary school homework.
In short, I think it’s important to remediate this lack of creativity and techno logic production that they experience daily. This is kind of scary, as I haven’t not noticed the government attempts to marginalise the arts in favour of batch-produced factory methods around ‘economic’ literacies.
In my last post I mentioned doing a daily. So we are doing that. Let me lay out the horror that has happened. These are all things that you could do cheaply and easy in class too – 10 mins at a time.
- We watched several episodes of Trap Door on YouTube (a banned site in the minds of public education)
- Then we went to the shop and bought $10 worth of modelling clay.
- Then I downloaded a stop motion application for the iPhone – and we played with it for a while, making small videos. Point to note here. I wasn’t holding the camera, just helping them find the application and save the file.
- Adrian Bruce showed me a great website for Claymation – and Mr9 took a look at that, while Mr5 wanted to make.
- Mr5 starts making a little monster in clay and Mr9 starts thinking about a background and continues to fiddle with the camera
- Mr9 comes up with a story: based on his current raid activity in WoW to beat the headless horseman
- We watch a headless horseman video on BannedTube
I could go on listing steps, but the point here is that all I had to do was find something interesting to do. I didn’t make anything new, but followed what they are interested in, and provided support on things that they didn’t know. So in a few 10 minute bursts of creativity – they know what animation is, they know what claymation is, they know how it is made, they know technologies role in assisting it, and they know a new story – and more importantly that animated films are a way to tell stories.
This is the kind of thing that must happen in classrooms – to have a goal and then to have teachers who are able to use technology (and have access to it) so that they can help kids reach their goals. Is the goal is to complete the workbook?- to pass the test? – to split kids into academic and non-academic (those who study theoretical are better that those who study practical).
I know that no matter how ‘academic’ my kids become, no matter what marks they get though tests and essays – unless they are inventive or creative – they will be excluded from future jobs and experiences that demand it. I’d be happy for the govenment to give me a guarantee that if I accept their view, that this won’t happen of course.
Imagine the daily damage being done, not by technology, but by the insisting that to be a ‘good learner’ you must not collaborate, not be creative, not think differently and play – but learn the information is in the book and the answers at the back. Even without technology – the systems is insane.