Monthly Archives: January 2011

“Schools kill Creativity”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this TED Talks video, Sir Ken Robinson, discusses how our schools kill children’s creativity. He argues that we need to start fostering creativity in our children through school, and that we need to stop teaching to just one type of child.  He begins by making general statements such as all students are exceptional, and they all have tremendous talent which we squander.  He claims that creativity is now as important as literacy, he says that naturally children are not afraid of making a mistake or being wrong, and that they will try something regardless of what might happen. He says that all these things are changed through school. These are all big statements, and I don’t think I agree with all of them.

Lets start at the beginning, I agree that students are taught not to be creative in schools, I think that many teachers have taken away children’s ability to just relax and create something, whether that be a story, a picture, a play, a dance, or anything else they can think of.  I believe this because it happened to me. I have always enjoyed being creative, especially art, however, in school I was always scared of getting the wrong answer, I was scared that my craft would not be as good as the others, and that it would be ‘wrong’. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment or event that caused me to do this, but I do know that when I was at home, I enjoyed art because I knew it wouldn’t be criticized.  I agree with Ken Robinson when he says that we teach a certain kind of person, we teach in a way that works for people who will end up being University Professors, because we teach academically, and not creatively.  I also agree with Ken Robinson when he says that he believes all students are exceptional, and that all of them have tremendous talent, which we tend to squander. Through my own personal schooling, and throughout my placements in the last four years, I have seen teachers limiting creativity of certain children. I don’t believe that they were doing it on purpose, but I do think that their practices that came naturally to them, were practices that looked down on individual students and their abilities.

One thing that I questioned from his talk was the idea that children are not afraid of being wrong, and that they will take a chance no matter what. I think that that is a very general statement, and that it can not be applied to all children. Some children don’t care, they will take chances, and if they are wrong they will be able to take it in stride and move forward. However, other children, like myself, will always struggle with worrying about getting it ‘right’. I think that these children do well academically, school for them becomes natural, because they want to have the right answer, and they develop strategies to make sure that that happens. For the other students however, school becomes difficult, because teachers do not always accept their answers or creative expression as ‘right’ even though they generally make sense. I believe that these students get ‘educated out of creativity’, I believe this because my brother was almost one of them. My brother has always been a ‘free-spirit’ he is creative, and taking chances came naturally to him, however, he struggled in school, teachers often thought that he was misbehaving, and he was always getting into trouble. Over the years, his creativity started to dwindle, and it wasn’t until he got out of high school that he really started to regain that.

As a result of my experiences, I really appreciate this video, I don’t want to be the teacher that ‘kills creativity’ I want to use my experiences, and frustrations to guide my teaching, and I want to help all of my students to succeed, whether they get the ‘right’ answer or not.


To filter or not to filter…that is the question.

There is a constant debate between whether or not schools should be filtering content on their computers, and as with any other debate there are extremists on each side. There are arguments that discuss overblocking, and underblocking, and still others that say filtering is doing the same thing as communist governments did. Then there are others that say it is necessary to save children, youth, and even adults from unnecessary content. But what is the answer? Is it right or even beneficial for students  to have the content they can access filtered? Is it empowerment when we don’t filter their internet access, and teach them proper etiquette?  Why can’t we find a happy medium instead of drifting from one extreme to another?

One side of the argument says that we need to filter content in an attempt to keep students safe, from much of the inappropriate content on the internet. However, I think that many schools take this too far, and they start to over block their computers. Many schools block so much, in an attempt to keep their students safe, that they make it hard for students to learn how to use the computer, and also makes it harder for teachers to incorporate technology into their lessons.  By over blocking and by filtering much of the internet content to students and teachers alike, the schools are teaching students to be afraid of what is on the internet, and they are doing their students a disservice by not giving them the necessary skills to be safe when on the internet. If students are continually sheltered from the internet, and from the content, not only are they not learning how to be safe, but they are not learning how to use it in a positive way. Students need to learn how to safely navigate through the internet, to find the information they are looking for.

 

However, on the other side of the argument teachers and parents alike argue that, especially young students, need to be protected from all of the horrors on the internet. They don’t always see the benefit in using the internet, and other sources of technology to increase student learning. I understand the desire to keep children safe, and I think that, if taught incorrectly, using the internet could be a very dangerous activity for children. However, to deny students the ability to use the internet is to hinder them from being prepared for their futures.

I believe, that the internet and technology are both important factors used in teaching. Not only do they allow students to gain a larger worldview, but they also open up doors to a lot more information, and social networks that students would have have access to otherwise. While I do support using technology and allowing students to use the internet, I also think that they need to be taught netiquette. Students need to learn how to keep themselves safe on the internet, but they also need to be taught how to use and build their social networks. In younger grades I think that internet use can be kept to pre-chosen websites, and as students get older they should be granted more access and more ability to use the internet.  I think that by drifting to one extreme or another, concerning filtering is limiting students. However, if we can teach them a balance, they will be more successful, and more prepared for their futures.


A bit of reflection..

I have been thinking about some of my experiences throughout my university career, and specifically the experiences I have had within the education faculty, and I have come to realize that it is all very idealistic, and seems to be part of a ‘fad’. For example, in regards to technology, it seems to be for a lot of people a ‘fad’ something that they throw themselves behind full force, and then when it doesn’t work exactly how they imagined it, they jump on board the next bandwagon that comes by and forget about their previous endeavors.  Last semester I experienced this, I talked to teachers who thought that technology was an awesome idea, and they were all for it, when using computers and so on was a ‘new’ thing, but now it is changing and not as effective as they had hoped and so they are no longer putting much effort into learning how to use it effectively.

As I thought about this, I questioned my own motives. I love the idea of using technology and social networking in my teaching, I love how it seems to open up doors to my students, and how it can be an accessible teaching technique for many more of my students than just lecturing is. However, I question whether or not I will stick with it when it gets difficult.  I don’t question whether or not I will want to use it (I just assume I will), but I am questioning if I will make the time and put in the effort to stay current, and to constantly be learning and finding new and more effective ways in my classroom.  I am hoping that I will put in the effort and my intention is to do that, however, from my experiences it seems that teachers who start out with a good idea and with good intentions are not always supported and encouraged to keep going, when it gets difficult, or when their techniques and interests are starting to change and evolve.

I am interested to see what happens, and I think that questioning my motives now, will force me to decide once and for all what  I want.


Tech Task 1 – Introduction

My name is Aimee Cronan, I am in my 4th year of the Early Childhood Education Program. I was born in Calgary, Alberta, but moved to Regina when I was 2 years old. I grew up with both of my parents at home, and a brother who was adopted from Jamaica and is 20 years old now. My dad is a pastor in a small inner  city church in Regina, and so I have grown up in North Central, and feel more comfortable in that culture than my own.

I am currently working as a part-time Educational Assistant at Regina Christian School, which is the school that I just recently completed my internship in. I taught in a grade 1/2 classroom, and I  used blogs a lot in my teaching. However, I am looking for a more effective way to use them, and a way to get children using them effectively. I want my students to learn how to use the computer,and other forms of technology in order to become effective members of society.

I believe that using technology is extremely beneficial for students, because, not only does it add variety to my teaching but it also preprares students for the world that they are growing up in. If they leave my classroom able to use many different types of technology and if they leave with a basic understanding of various technologies and computer processing, they will be more prepared for the future that is before them.

I love youtube and other tools like it for teaching, and used Youtube specifically, extremely often in my classroom. I used it so much because it allowed me  to demonstrate a concept in a fun engaging way, and in a way that worked for many different types of students. I also think that it is beneficial for my students to learn how to post their ideas on Youtube, because it teaches them that they have something to share, and it broadens their worldview.

From this class I am hoping to learn how to use techonology in an effective way in the classroom, and how to teach students ways that they can use technology by themselves. I would really like to learn to make Webquests, and how to use the Smartboard. I am looking forward to challenging myself in what I am capable of, regarding technology.