Creating & designing something IS how we make meaning…how we transform old into new…how we leave a track in the snow marking where we’ve been… all in service of creating a path forward. That is, I believe, the heartbeat of progressive pedagogy.
I recently read a post by an person who quoted James Baldwin by saying, “the place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.” This quote is so meaningful and applicable to education today. Unfortunately, I think schools sometimes put these ideas into action in the wrong way. This is true when organizations believe that a select few can lead the way to create and make the place (classroom design, school culture, ways of being) and the stuff (curriculum, instructional best practices, assessment) for everyone to follow.
I’ve lived and learned a lot over the past 22 years as an educator and what continues to hold true is that what thrusts educators into strong, life-long professionals with a passion for continued learning is when a system invites ALL invested stakeholders to live out Baldwin’s ideas: “The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.” Teachers, the people we’ve hired to facilitate learning for our children, typically want to be a part of making it so they can fit. When we allow them to do so, they in turn allow their students to make it so they can fit. That is, not just saying that you subscribe to a progressive pedagogy, but actually living it! Without that, you just end up with a leadership team that has a lot invested, feeling good about what they’ve created, and feeling like they can fit…while everyone else is working double time trying to get on their page. Not to mention all the other stakeholders (parents, custodians, students, etc.) who may not be privy, let alone invested, in what is even being built. If, instead, we invite everyone to bring ideas and talents to the table to create and design, just imagine what kind of place we could make where everyone would feel like they fit.
Some things are worth repeating. Creating & designing something IS how we make meaning…how we transform old into new…how we leave a track in the snow marking where we’ve been… all in service of creating a path forward. Do you believe that is the heartbeat of education today? If so, how are you putting those ideas into action?