If you’re reading this blog, you may know who Ken Robinson is. If not, though, you should. Everyone should. In fact, before you read the rest of this post, you should watch at least this video:
I am, of course, a tremendous fan of his work. In my head (where, as he rightly points out, I live), I struggle with how to incorporate what he is calling for – the very reasons we unschool – into my classrooms. I strive to value and reward creativity and risk-taking in my classes, rather than “right” answers. I try to provide different ways of expressing one’s ideas and account for different ways of learning. I am never entirely successful. I never struggle long or hard enough. In the end, the students who can write well do better than the students who cannot, and the students who have read books in their lives fare better than the students who have not. I continue, mostly wittingly, to privilege literacy above all other forms of knowledge and ways of self-representation.
I am partially constrained by my role in the university, of course. But I can do more. And this semester I am going to try to do more. This semester, with one course in which I have more leeway than the others, I am going to struggle more aggressively toward these goals. I am going to try to conduct my class as much like an unschooler as is possible, within the parameters set by the school and my colleagues. Details to follow!