Our arts education teachers quietly go about their work, often marginalized to the ‘extras’ or the ‘fluff’ of the school program, writes Canadian teacher educator Brenda Sherry. “And yet, I would argue that they are the PBL experts that we seek!” Sherry describes several attributes of student-centered pedagogy that are common among teachers of drama, music, painting, dance and artistic crafts.
It appears that while schools and software companies are gearing up for students to start creating and curating a digital portfolio, the reality is that colleges and their admissions directors are more conservative on the current and future role of this medium. Right now, few colleges and universities will consider additional application materials and do not see this changing in the near future.
For generations, we have almost completely bypassed the development of true problem solving skills in our curricula, avoiding the hard questions “at the very end of the textbook chapter.” Instructional technology director Tim Holt makes the case that Problem-Based (not project-based) Learning can go a long way to address the deficit.
The way teachers teach their students has, I believe, a direct correlation to the way in which they learn themselves. We have all read in the latest teaching journals that teachers of today have to be devoted to lifelong learning. But what does that mean, really? What elements affect teacher learning and then in turn affect how that teacher teaches?
I used to think I was a pretty good teacher. Now I realize that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but my classroom was woefully inadequate for many of my students. I failed to equip them with what they needed. I now believe my students are competent to show me what they need, if only I take the time to listen and ask authentic questions. I’m becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.
I believe it is not enough to judge humankind on scientific principles — which historically have often been temporary truths. Schooling must respect the art of human-ness and so we should design natural learning environments to maximize our children’s innate assets.