Sunday, March 9, 2008

Proactive Not Reactive

What I see occurring is reaction instead of pro action. We are continually losing engineering/science/math related jobs to the citizens of other countries. We were not proactive in our answers 15 years ago when this started. Are we now reacting to something that is far out of reach?

My district has created a partnership with The Navy Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland. They joined forces with each other in an effort to motivate students to get interested in these fields. We have piloted a few co-teaching lessons with the engineers from NSWC. I did the lesson with a 3rd grade class. After 2 weeks discussing safety features and building egg catchers, we had the partnership lesson Friday. I think the lesson went well. Along with me and the engineer, 2 people from NSWC, a Board member, Administrators, a camera man and the Technology Teacher were all present at this lesson. It was quite a packed Science room on Friday. The hard part of the lesson was trying to relate what we did in class to what the engineer discussed. Relating egg catchers to cockpit ejection seats was not that easy. But it worked.

The engineer relied on me to bring the conversation back to the 3rd graders. I think it is hard for a Naval Engineer to come into a 3rd Grade classroom and relate directly with the kids, unless they have had some experience with this. The students seemed interested and had many questions for the Engineer.

Now that some praise is out of the way...
I do have some concerns.

The partnership, like I said before, is a result of the District and the NSWC wanting more students interested in these fields. I just don't understand how they are going to accomplish this. Students are tired of looking at PowerPoints. The PowerPoint Presentation is the most overused application in the school system. Students are tired of being talked at. They want to have a voice. Bringing in an Engineer to talk to the students is not going to get them interested in becoming an engineer. Most of these students cannot see this in their future. It is not real to them.

I believe we need to change the methods of our teaching first. We need to give the students a way to express how they feel. We need to listen to them. We need to talk with them, and not at them. We need to present ourselves as learners also. We need to let them know that their voice is just as powerful as ours. We need a collection of voices to make learning more powerful to everyone. We need to invite schools to be more proactive instead of reactive. Until this changes, I don't see the students changing. Until next blog...

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