Friday, August 28, 2020

Teacher Tom: "Just In Time" Education

Teacher Tom: "Just In Time" Education

"Just In Time" Education

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same
There's a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same

                   ~Malvina Reynolds

One of the theories underpinning "normal" education is that children need a "foundation" upon which to build future learning. Indeed, that's pretty much what the first 18 years is all about for most kids: memorizing the stuff they're going to need to have memorized in order to memorize the stuff they're going to need to memorize for next year, and so on, until they are released into the world, their foundations finally ready to support their "little boxes." Of course, it's not entirely like that. Some more progressive teachers might allow the children to write their papers on "any topic you chose" or "read any book you want (unless it's a comic book)," but they are largely constrained by the blueprint curriculum that they've been issued for constructing foundations so that those little boxes will turn out "all the same." 

It's a theory that starts with the idea that the adults, in their wisdom and superior soothsaying about the future, can predict what every child will need, as if there is a common body of knowledge that all children, no matter their interests, aptitudes, background, culture, or developmental stage, must know in order to move forward in life. We argued that they must be "well rounded." We say we are preparing them for the "jobs of tomorrow." We warn they are "falling behind" when the foundation for their little box is not the same as all the others. We tell them they are wrong when they, say, CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: "Just In Time" Education