I came across this video on Vimeo a while back. It’s about a woodworker who has a school for “at risk” kids (I put the term “at risk” in quotes because I don’t really agree with it- it’s a degrading term invented by a system that values the wrong things).
I’m not sure why I find this video so inspiring . . . maybe because of the message about making as a form of learning, maybe because I like the metaphor of society as a train that is scooping up and dumping off information, or maybe because the guy reminds me a little bit of my Dad. I don’t know. If you get a chance, watch up until at least the 3:45 mark.
There’s a part of the video that talks about the kids who are kicked out of public school and end up in remedial schools until they are placed in the “court ordered community school” which is the woodworker’s shop. The shop owner says, “they’re great kids. There isn’t anything thing wrong with them- they’re just doers and not sitters.”
I think about this resignation letter that decries the overt emphasis on standards and summative assessment at the expense of “developmentally appropriate” curriculum.
I think about John Medina and his suggestion that our brains are designed to be solving problems outdoors, in constant motion, and in various environmental conditions.
I think about the the credit hour and its colloquial name, “seat time.”
Class sizes, enrollments: “Butts in seats.”
Sit still. Be quiet. Listen. Eyes on your own test.
Learning is doing. Sitting is sitting.