Learning Alongside Them

Theatre Learning

I spend a lot of time dreaming of changes in education. The more and more those dreams start to slip away I wonder how long I will continue with this work. Teaching is really hard; It has become harder because of the pandemic and the related fall-out. When Covid started, I thought maybe there was a chance we could make some big changes. Sadly education just fell back on what was comfortable. The tests, the data, the reduction of kids to numbers and labels. But I am going to continue dreaming.

I started this year with the dream to reimagine how to teach English. Student focused, Grade-less*, Multi-genre and Multimodal. Leaning on the brilliant words of others to inspire use. I invited my students to dream with me. At first, I think they doubted me. Maybe doubted my commitment to this dream, maybe doubted themselves.

We watched Jason Reynolds perform For Everyone and I asked the student to pull lines that had some kind of impact on them. From there I talked to them about multimodal composition, exploring different ways to represent our thinking. Then I asked them to jump. Just to try it. This week the brilliance that silly tests won’t measure shined bright as assignments started coming

This week I have listened to and read poems, viewed works of art, and been moved by stories of bread. Freedom to dream and think about ways to allow our students to show their whole self is what will fuel this year.

I am choosing to focus on the brilliance that comes from these almost adult humans because I have lost faith that the test driven systems see them at all.

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