Saturday, March 17, 2007

Following Up: Transitioning to the other side

Over the past few months I have written several blog posts about learning strategies and the teacher's role in the process. I have examined the strategies to define the relationships that exist between teachers and students: 1) Traditional Assembly Line method, where our students miracously change each hour for teachers to perform their selected tasks on the new product in front of them. 2) The Digital Native / Digital Immigrant perspective first espoused by Marc Prensky in 2001 and recently updated by Wesley Fryer, to include Refugees into the mix. I included my own premise of Guerrilla Education, where students learn in environments that are not conducive to their preferred modalities, but manipluate the environment to learn things that are important to them.

I want to transition to include myself in the process. I have always felt that it was my professional responsibility to grow in my level of skill and knowledge as an educator. It has been in this responsibility that I have undertaken many of the tasks I have worked on over the past two years. (Blogging, becoming active in the larger EdTech community through RSS, Google Certified Teacher Academy, etc. ) Through the conversations (both personal and over the Internet) I have began a transformation to a more constructivist approach to education and seeing myself, not as the teacher, but as the lead learner. This approach leads to the idea of creating a 'community of learners.' Groups within this construct are fluid, changing their composition as the tasks to be undertaken change. This is what led me to some of the posts I have written over the past few months. I took on the idea of 'Guerrilla Warfare' in education, stating that we needed to be realistic and understand that the transition of the educational process isn't going to come from the top, but will have to come from the classrooms of the world. Teachers will have to, like their students already have, find ways to become quicker and more agile in the way they teach. During this transition, teachers will have to find examples from outside of education to help them move forward.

So, I am going to conclude with something corny... and steal from a friends planned presentation this week. (I doubt that many people will read this prior to the presentation!) The text below is from a training session between Luke Skywalker and Yoda in 'The Empire Strikes Back.' I think it illustrates the crossroads we are currently at in education. I've even found the video, its about 5 minutes long if you want to take a look.

Yoda: "You must unlearn what you have learned."

Luke: Okay, I'll try."

Yoda: "No, try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

Luke: I can't. It's too big.

Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

Luke: “I don’t believe it.”

Yoda: “That is why you fail.”