Public schools are the most important and influential resource in our democratic society. Citizens who are lifelong learners possess the power to shape the future, but education is more than a matter of passing tests and earning degrees. Learning and critical thinking are the product of intrinsic motivation to become our best selves. Our schools are effective when educators fuel this intrinsic drive and inspire curiosity. We must teach our students how to think, rather than what to think and open the door to multiple perspectives and constant reflection.
Fostering a sense of internal purpose begins in the elementary years and should never end. While the structure of education evolves with age and circumstance, all students share the same fundamental needs. For learning and growth to occur, students must have ownership in learning, feel valued, and have high expectations that are clear and explicit. Success must be scaffolded. Most importantly, all learners need a role model. The best teacher is an avid learner and a muse.
Like Vygotsky, I believe that learning is a social enterprise. I also believe that language development and thought are entangled, so that reading, writing, listening, speaking and thinking must be joined in instruction from primary to post-secondary years. Similarly, we must begin to teach creativity from an early age. As we model an intrinsic love of learning, we must also impart habits of mind that build a culture of risk-taking, problem-solving, perseverance and self-reflection. Our job as educators of students of all ages is to inspire life-long learning.
Please watch my Bold Talk on Honesty and Empathy and the Art of Critical Feedback to understand my approach to student teacher supervision.