Surviving the Zombie Apocalyse or Your first Year of Teaching

April 30, 2K15

In my Educational Technology class, we do a ton of crazy work online and on the computer. Work for what I like to refer to as, “Technology Buffs”. I’m learning, I’m not accurate in saying this. As I read his book, Surviving the Zombie Apocalyse or Your first Year of Teaching, I’m becoming increasingly more interested in discovering what learning looks like for people who are driven by entirely different things. I’ve been arrogant, as an Education Major, crafting blogs and reading literature, forgetting entirely about who I’m about to teach. It turns out, what you know is worthless without the ability to pass it on in such a way that compels whomever you are teaching it to.

Here’s the think to my creation this semester…

https://sites.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/bmranieri-portfolio/home

I wrote this blog post in response to Chapter 4 of Haskell’s book.

In Haskell’s book, Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse or Your first Year of Teaching, his fourth chapter, (or more accurately his first) expands on what intelligence looks like, how we identify it and how we clearly identify the lack of it. I’ve spent a significant amount of time cowering under the intelligence umbrella many seem to whip out whenever they enter a room.  Haskell probes the reader to look deeper into how we define intelligence.

Although his chapter focuses on our innate ability to repress others and their intellectual capacity, I want to dive into what deems us as, “smart”. I used to think if I could just read enough books, I would be good enough. If I could maintain a high enough GPA, I would earn the respect of myself, my parents and my teachers for long enough to be worthy and clearly, “smart”. I’m not sure if it’s a human characteristic or a social one, but the constant desire to be recognized and stamped as a worthy and welcomed member, is an illness entirely its own.

Haskell writes, “I share this because it is not acceptable in the 21st century for teachers to categorize students based on their perceived intelligence. The fact is, the more we learn about learning, the more we recognize that all students do well in learning environments well-suited to them. That aptitude in a class is connected to their engagement first, their knowledge second.” (pg 10)

Chapter four proceeds on to explain schema and the powerful tools of experience and emotion. Visceral connections help to build knowledge in a way memorization and due dates aren’t able to.  As Haskell speaks on the importance of informal learning, I begin to squirm in my seat.

How then, are teachers able to thrive? They’re placed in a boxed classroom that happens to be situated in a prison built school, with timed tests, classes and semesters? How are we to shift the paradigm when we are stuck in the midst of older ways?

Generations look at progress from a tainted point of view. We read about old ways as we bask in the privileges of the new ones, only to be sitting in the present looking upwards towards what is next. Change is a slow process, which is why push back tends to follow the urge for any sort of revolutionary ideas.

Chapter four ends with, “Ken Robinson reminds us of a very important point, we are preparing future generations for a future we may never see. It belongs to them. It’s theirs.”

May we be a generation dedicated to the slow, purposeful process of change. May we be motivated and open-minded towards what is next, constantly shifting our eyes towards the betterment of tomorrow, rather than the comfort of today.

-b

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