Updated: Jun 18, 2021
My frustration with how schooling works was one of the reasons for developing Marva Collins Cottage School. So much of what's emphasized in school has little to do with learning and even less to do with innovation. I was fortunate to work in school environments that allowed me to manage my classroom; so I taught my students differently. We still had to come to terms with the messages they internalized from other parts of the building. They had to turn on new skills and turn off fear of failure. At the beginning of the school year, it was a steep curve. Eventually my students came to realize this is just how we do things in our classroom. I wanted them to have more of it. I wanted their complete freedom-- from grades and performing for their teachers' approval. I wanted them to use their gifts. I wanted them to think about it before saying "I don't get it" and waiting for step by step instructions. I didn't want them happily following steps in anticipation of my "good job" confirmation. As Mitchel Resnick explains in Lifelong Kindergarten, "most schools in most countries place a higher priority on teaching students to follow instructions and rules (becoming 'A' students) than helping students develop their own ideas, goals, and strategies (becoming 'X' students)." I highly recommend this book! Let's work together to add more 'X' students to our world.
In kindergartens these days, children spend more time with math worksheets and phonics flashcards than building blocks and finger paint. Kindergarten is becoming more like the rest of school. In Lifelong Kindergarten, learning expert Mitchel Resnick argues for exactly the opposite: the rest of school (even the rest of life) should be more like kindergarten. To thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively—and the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens. Drawing on experiences from more than thirty years at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick discusses new technologies and strategies for engaging young people in creative learning experiences. By providing young people with opportunities to work on projects, based on their passions, in collaboration with peers, in a playful spirit, we can help them prepare for a world where creative thinking is more important than ever before.