professornana (professornana) wrote,

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The UNprogram and an essential element

"Our challenge now is to examine sincerely our own readiness to co-create, physically build, and work in a passion-driven classroom – a classroom governed by students’ needs, not ours. A classroom driven by authentic work, not standardized testing. A classroom dedicated equally to all the people in it – and to their mutual and inviolate agency and authority – , not to the test results that come out of it." Chad Sansing

This blog post ( made my morning. It talks about standards and how they confine the discussions we should be having. Somehow this brilliant essay seemed to dovetail with what we have been talking about here and in our other conversations online. And here is yet another element of the UNprogram: PASSION.

You know when someone is passionate about something don't you? Whether they are speaking about a piece of music, a book, a painting, a sunset, a movie: it does not matter. The passion shines through. It is obvious the author of this post is passionate. The quote I opened with resonates with me and, quite frankly, reminded me of the Gettysburg Address. Now, there was some passion, too, right? Passion about government being OF the people BY the people and FOR the people. So why not have the same passion for education? Teaching most certainly needs to be FOR the kids and not for some money-grubbing testing corporation that sucks monies from schools which can ill afford that suckage in this day and age. And teaching needs to be OF the kids as well. We need always to have the kid at the center of what we do and say and think and feel when it comes to classrooms and teaching.

So what about education BY the kid? To some that might sound like putting the residents in charge of the asylum. To me, it sounds like something different. Education BY the kids means that I am not the sole authority. I am what Paul Hankins calls the "lead learner" and what Renzulli calls "the guide on the side" rather than "the sage on the stage." This does not mean I relinquish my role as the teacher. It means I redefine that role. This is something with which I still struggle, control freak that I am. I want to set rules and parameters and timelines. Perhaps this is what comes of working so long (36 years of teaching) in a system where this was about the only control I could exert?

I come back to the quote. And I ask myself: what will I do to move to education OF, BY, AND FOR the children? Thanks, Chad, for grist for my mill today.
Tags: challenges, classrooms, control, unprogram
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