I am linking up with The Primary Gal for this book study for Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz.
I absolutely love that the book opens with this quote! This new era of testing and testing and more testing has me thinking that we have gone way too far on the pendulum. Don't get me wrong, I do think students and teachers need some accountability, but I do think we also need to remember why we are teaching in the first place. Are we teaching students to be successful on one test or are we teaching them to mature academically, socially, and emotionally. Paul Solarz says that is the latter. He believes that students need to become risk takers, to make creative decision, and to work well with others. Unfortunately, he says the current state of education tends to stifle rather than foster these traits.
Learn Like a Pirate challenges teachers to veer from the current education models. It is the author's belief that with the proper motivation and appropriate amount of freedom, students will rise to the challenge and impress you. He says that even the youngest students will benefit from opportunities to run portions of their studies, take initiative, and develop leadership school.
I have always been the type of teacher that is just a little different than the rest. My classroom rarely looks like other classes where the students sit in rows quietly working on worksheets. My students spread out all over the room, sometimes lying on the floor, sometimes on a stool, doing their work. And, they are rarely quiet. We talk a lot! I cringe every time someone walks in the room wondering what they must be thinking. Are they judging because it isn't silent, or do they get it?
Even though my classroom runs a bit more student centered, I paused when I read this..
Students don't consult the teacher? What?!? I continued to read and think and was reassured when Solarz says that although "everyone in the classroom appears to have equal power and equal say in what happens, everyone understands that the teacher's word is final."
The author isn't suggesting complete anarchy, he is just suggesting changing the methods of delivering instruction so that the students are in charge of their own learning. Isn't that what we want anyway, to create life long learners?
He warns that it doesn't happen overnight and that it does take a commitment from both the teacher and the students, but that it will happen. You will have a student-led classroom in which the students are inspired and empowered to take charge of their learning experience.
Well, I am definitely ready to keep reading and learn more about this new way of thinking. If you also interested in learning more about this student-led environment, grab the book, and join us during this book study!
If you would like to see my thoughts from other chapters, check them out below: