Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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School Should Not Be Boring!
By Susie Johnson    September 12, 2008 -- 06:30 PM

I cringe when I hear anyone say that school is/was boring!  Isn't it time we put our (really) best practices back in school?    School reform has brought about many changes through the years, but the one area that has really been catching the joy of learning again is career technical education and regional occupational programs (CTE/ROP).  Students that do not pass a high school math class are required to repeat it.  Ugh!  No wonder a student can feel bored if he or she is forced to sit in the same seat and hear the same curriculum and still not understand how to apply or solve the same problems!  What if that same student took a CTE/ROP culinary arts class?  Hands-on learning has tremendous value!  Using math skills to create a recipe is applied learning.  If the math isn't right, the cake will not rise!  Too much salt and the taste will be an unfortunate (yet valuable) lesson!  Last year in San Diego County, ROP served more than 48,000 students.  It is my hope as a former high school teacher and present administrator that more and more administrators, teachers and students see the great value in CTE/ROP programs and help get our students plugged into these classes.  Let's reach out to everyone with hands-on learning. School should not be boring!

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By small Barbara Bray      September 13, 2008 -- 10:22 AM
Susan - I agree wholeheartedly. That's why I posted Joy in Learning in an earlier post. We owe it to our children to bring joy back, make learning exciting and engaging. What I heard one student say at one urban school "I learn in school and enjoy learning after school." That's not what should happen.

I like your ideas of using real world activities like cooking. With the emphasis of testing especially in K-8, teachers are overwhelmed with paperwork and following prescriptive lessons that are "boring."  I have lots of friends who are getting disillusioned with the teaching profession. My best friend who teaches teachers ELD strategies was just told their funding was cut. I'm in California that hasn't passed a budget in 75 days so schools are on their own. Yesterday, the front page of the SF Chronicle showed Algebra 1 classes with 43 students.

Things have to change soon. Teachers need to share how they are bringing back joy. Share it in eCoach. I'm going to be presenting strategies how to replace lessons with engaging activities, how to map the curriculum, how to collaborate with another classroom, etc. I am going to encourage eCoach members to share more and more. You can include videos, podcasts, and more in blogs and the Universal builder. Let's get going!!!

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