Jedis vs Clones; Starfleet vs Borg – What Kind of Students are We Creating?


     We’ve started having regularly scheduled meetings with our new teachers as a way to provide some dedicated, singular-purposed support.  Our first meeting went great, we had a lot to share about anticipated and unanticipated joys and stressors.  As one of our new teachers was talking/reflecting on her first days everyone in group could see the light bulb flash over her head as she made the connection that the learning activities we create and deliver have a direct result on the type of interactions that occur in the class and the types of learners/future citizens we are helping shape. Her illumination was what we plan or [don’t plan] has a direct bearing on creating independent or dependent learners, risk takers or passive learners!
This was great! We began sharing out how creating dependent learners, passive learners, adds more work to the classroom teacher! We kept speaking of pushing more work back on the students – let the 11-13 year olds work tire themselves from the quality work we put together!  This was awesome sharing.
 After the meeting, I received some inspiration from one of my favorite teachers in the world [you can see him on my profile picture]. That’s what generated the connections below:

Jedis vs Clones
What kind of student/education warrior are you training? 
Think of your classroom:
  • Do you value receiving multiple viewpoints?
  • Are your activities set up to have more than one correct answer?
  • Is your instruction designed to create flexible, adaptable learners or is are you structuring assignments and assessments generate standard answers from ‘hunt and find’ answer generating?
Are you preparing them for your past classroom experiences or what they need to be successful in a changing educational environment or job market?
Are you training someone who can create and respond intelligently to different blogs or answer a set of static questions with multiple choice answers, worksheet or webpage?

I don’t want to open the door to an AWESOME discussion on one of the greatest teachers in history and how he differentiated his teachings to someone so strong with the force [or how someone with such broken English made some of the most profound teachings in our history] but I do want to stress that unless we are willing to differentiate, experiment and dive into instruction relevant to our students we are at risk of losing them or take an active role in causing them to fall behind.
Starfleet vs Borg Collective
What kind of classroom/school are you building? What does your learning environment value?
I shared with my new teachers that my first years in education was dedicated to building a middle school classroom VERY much like the ones I experienced – rows, Mad Minute multiplication drills, page-by-page instruction and a lot of me standing by the board or overhead working math problems [which I was great at but I don’t need the practice].  Exposure, great mentoring and risk taking led me to be a problem solver and start valuing problem solving in my classroom.

Think of our favorite Starfleet captain and the out-the-box-thinking he had to come up with to pass the Kobayashi Maru [link provided for those who don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of Trekdom]. Our efforts should focus on challenging and producing that same game-changing behavior. Thinkers are needed – we all place a high value on the individual and lateral thinking but what systems does our instititution/classrooms promote?

I’m excited for my new teachers, particularly when I hear and see their evolution unfold before me. When we left our talk, I immediately Tweeted the experience and got some great feedback from @magical teacher, @thenewtag, @teachingwithsoul and @tomaltepeter. This is ready evidence of the Power of the PLN! In addition to building a support network in this building and district, I am also committing myself to helping these new teachers build their own efficacy in their own PLN. #ntchat is great tool that I’ve only learned about recently dedicated to supporting and mentoring new teachers.
[I think by next step will be to invest in some posters]

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