No wonder nobody wants to come

The ABC of Animals vintage children's book

Ira Socol says:

If your school, and your school day, is not about students collaborating, connecting, and building knowledge and understandings together, why would anyone come?

Serious question. If students want to learn in isolation; if they want to sit at a desk and work on their own stuff, occasionally checking in with an “expert,” they have no reason to come to school. They can do a lot better at home, or at their local coffee shop, or even the public library, where both the coffee and the WiFi connection will be better.

[A] vast assortment of educators, from that crusty old mathematics teacher … [to] Salman Khan, believe that kids sitting alone, working by themselves, with canned, inflexible data in front of them, is the best preparation for life in the present and future.

Somehow, these educators think the information of the world still moves via paper and pencil, that there are “correct answers” to everything, and that there is a structured cultural norm of learning behavior, best exemplified by the silent child bent over a wooden desk with a thick physical book, which must be duplicated if a student is to succeed in their learning spaces.

No wonder nobody wants to come.


Image credit: The ABC of Animals

9 Responses to “No wonder nobody wants to come”

  1. Well, yeah, if your school is one preparing, preparing and preparing for standardized testing with Common Core-style curriculum, this may be true. But please, Mr. Socol, don’t paint all schools with such a broad brush.

  2. There are some teachers that are stuck in the mindset that paper and pencil is the only way to teach their students and have them learn. I believe more and more teachers are turning around and beginning to use the technology available to them. Just yesterday my EDM 310 teacher told me of a conference he went to where teachers who were not open to the concept of technology in the classroom were now using it on a daily basis. Many of them saying that it has helped connect students,and that there has even been a drop in the number of students who miss school as well as student disruptions in class. This week I started my observation hours and witnessed first grade students working with Ipads. When I asked the teacher how she liked the Ipads in the classroom, she told me that they are an amazing tool and they were actually going to be getting a class set! I believe that as an educator you need to be open to the concept of change. You might not be comfortable with it, but the use of technology in the classroom is a great tool that I believe is more beneficial than just paper and pencil alone.
    I am posting a summary of this post as well as one of your previous post on my class website. You may view it at or follow me on twitter @MeaganMcRae1

    • Our 21st century society does not allow for our students to simply communicate with pen and paper. They are tech savvy and our schools need to catch up. PD for teachers who do not feel comfortable incorporating technology into the classroom needs to be offered. However, many schools, mine included, do not have the technology needed to keep the students engaged. Districts need the support of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and the community to help fight for technology funding.

  3. Students collaborating with each other is key to students learning. By talking through class assignments and collaborating with each other, students have to answer questions and formulate answers. That process requires much more thought than sitting in class silently.
    Please feel free to visit my EDM 510 class blog EDM 510 Class Blog or my personal class blog Anastasia Martin EDM 510 Blog Also you can follow me on twitter @anastasia5360

    • I completely agree. Students need to work together. In life, we all have to learn to work together better and we are doing a disservice to our students if we only allow them to work independently or solely with technology. We need to use the Common Core standards to facilitate group work along side technology.

  4. As educational leaders, we must take the Common Core and run with it. They are great standards and create equity amongst schools all over.
    1. Common Core Puts Creativity Back in the Classroom
    Finally teachers have the ability to create their own curriculum, which they know will be engaging for all students. As leaders, we must encourage our teachers to take the Common Core standards and incorporate them into their own unique units. It is our job to give our teachers the autonomy in their teaching and trust their judgements. As long as their units incorporate the standards into their day-to-day lessons, our teachers and students will be much more happy at school each day.
    2. Common Core is Collaborative
    Common Core allows for teacher collaboration. I have been encouraging my teachers (from different disciplines) to co-teach classes. This allows for deeper learning in the classroom and my school is able to offer more interesting courses. I have recently had my science teacher and English teacher co-teach a course, which got rave reviews from my students. Their collaboration allowed for the students to learn deeper and they enjoyed going to that class.
    3. Common Core Gets Kids College Ready
    These foundational standards that all high school students should have are general enough to allow for creativity in the classroom, but also equity amongst all students. Colleges in CT are no longer offering remedial courses, so it is up to our high schools to adequately prepare our students for college courses. The Common Core standards do just this if we, as educational scholars, use them the correct way.

  5. Patricia, as an administrator, how do you feel students are any more prepared for college with the Common Core? Isn’t the Common Core just a new fancy way of changing things in education like politicians love to do every few years? As principals, we should be careful to say NOW our students will be prepared for college–why weren’t we preparing them before Common Core?

    • Toni, you are correct to point out we should not say our students were not prepared for college before Common Core. However, recent legislation in CT has forced colleges to no longer offer remedial courses. This was a huge deal for so many of my students because they are in need of those courses. Before the Common Core many disciplines were focused on “what to cover” instead of “what outcomes we want.” Common Core gives our curriculum writers the opportunity to practice UbD. Common Core standards are outcome and we should be finding engaging, rigorous ways to give our students the opportunities to become proficient in those outcomes.

  6. Hi Scott. I am a student from the University of South Alabama and I have been assigned by my EDM310 instructor to comment on your blog. I will be recording a summary of my comments on my own blog at a later date.

    I personally believe what Ira Socol said is such a true statement. Education no longer takes place with simply just a textbook, pencil, and paper. Teachers that are sticking to the past traditional teaching methods are only holding their students back. Teachers have to adapt to the new ways of teaching if they want to stimulate their students to actually learn something in class.

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