I had to transform my thinking about students as I transitioned into the Innovative Arts teacher. Here I will break down some of the old ideas that I used to have and the new thinking.
I originally wrote this about 3 years ago.
Old thinking: All learning needs to be testable and quantified. A schedule can list all things that’ll be covered in class.
New thinking: learning is messy and sporadic. Student growth happens in bursts. You can’t plan the best lessons. There are always important lessons that will come up.
- Life lessons,
- interpersonal lessons,
- material properties,
- strategic thinking, and many more.
There is usually a lesson hidden whenever a project has failed or the unexpected happens.
Old thinking: kids who are the same age are generally going to learn the same lessons at the same time.
New thinking: Kids will learn only what they are ready to learn, when they are ready to learn it. I will be forever repeating mini lessons and main ideas. Some kids need to hear it many times and some kids aren’t ready right away. As a maker educator, the important ideas will repeat and repeat. One lesson on one day doesn’t work.
Old thinking: Students who choose to waste their work time should have a low grade to show for it.
New thinking: This one took me the longest to discard.
The aim of maker education is to develop our students, not push them to produce on schedule. Please understand that grades are an external motivator and not a particularly effective one for many students. The more the making time is about a grade, the worse off you and your students will be.
I don’t really agree with myself on most of these. Three years is a long time, so I would have much more nuanced thoughts. These were written when I was pretty green at maker education and I have landed in a wiser spot in the middle.