We've rendered the phrase "the art and science of" almost meaningless by using it to describe nearly any endeavor. But "art and science" is a nuanced way to think about the unique properties of teaching, one of the most important endeavors in any society.
If we don't want education to be dressed in a culture of defensiveness and excuses, then we must take them away by welcoming such classroom foibles as authentic opportunities to flourish, not as shortcomings to bemoan.
The idea of "learning by doing" stretches back to education legends Maria Montessori and John Dewey, both of whom felt teachers should act more as guides to students' independent discoveries than as founts of information.
Just like I encourage my sons to "read the book" before they see a movie, I encourage students to experience concepts through real-life exercises before they play with technical simulations. Tie knots. Fold origami. Play with Legos.
Nowadays, we are seeing the topic of genocide being covered even in the elementary grades and there is no consensus on when it should be introduced or taught. In my opinion, the topic of genocide should not be discussed prior to grade six.
I spotlighted Jennifer Isbell, a teacher from Central Coast New Tech High, who was using her summer to collaborate as she prepared to be a founding teacher at this new public high school, which opened its doors last week.
Folks often said to me, "Oh, you're a teacher -- that's so great! You must love it! It must be so much FUN!" and I would look at them, force a smile, and decide if this person was worth an explanation on what teaching is really like.
The problem seems evident in the language. We 'adopt' programs. We 'purchase' materials. We 'integrate' technology. We even 'train' teachers. For all of the changing programs referenced, how many teachers actually changed their practice?
Did you hear about that philosophy final where the professor came in and wrote "Why?" on the chalkboard? And a student got an A+ by answering "Why not?" I guaran-effing-tee you this has never happened in the history of college.
Considering how wide the differences between reading on one's own and reading in a class are, I'm interested in how educators might take some aspects from the former to let high school students read just to read.