Thoughts

The Art of Growing Up

This post was originally published as an ICHK Teacher Insight.

The process of becoming an adult is one of life’s main preoccupations: it takes a long time, and requires the investment of a considerable amount of personal, familial, societal energy. As a secondary school …

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Anxiety

Are my anxieties a deliberate result of the capitalist systems within which I have grown up?

Traditional Schooling

Although not quite as vociferous as Ivan Illich (Deschooling Society, 1971), I am nonetheless a constant critic of what might be termed "traditional schooling". Discipline, rigor, neat rows of desks, exams. You know the drill.

Over a number of years I've criticised my own traditional teaching practices in my talks on Free Learning. To illustrate my point, I've used a three-leaved Venn diagram outlining the interplay between grade worship, conformity and dependence. Expanding on this line of thinking I've recently added a fourth leaf, delusion, which I've previously written about on this site. The result:
Is it any wonder that our school systems produce so many humans (and I include myself in this bracket) who struggle to live within the societies we are building?

Baking Bread

In last year’s End of Year Assessment (which I did not write about, but you can get a sense of it from the prior year’s) students asked for more curriculum surprises. One them related with obvious relish the tale of the (very random) occasion …

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Talking As Adults

At ICHK Secondary, as in any school, we find student culture shifting constantly, with new and exotic behaviours bubbling to the surface in a steady stream. Given a broad and contemporary diet of influences, including families, peers, mainstream media, social media, Internet memes and …

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Narrative First

Somewhere towards the manic end of last school year I read a copy of Neil Postman’s The End of Education (recommended and loaned to me by my Head of School, Toby Newton). Whilst there were many parts that I enjoyed, and some that I …

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Student Self Direction

One of the key design goals behind the Free Learning pedagogy was encouraging students to direct their own learning. Based on the experience that many students lack the skills to make the most of pure inquiry-based learning, Free Learning makes use of a map of …

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I Hate Grades

I recently gave a 2-minute nano presentation at 21st Century Learning’s Hong Kong TeachMeet, entitled I Hate Grades. It was a pleasure to be able to speak openly about something very close to my heart, and the reception from the assembled teachers was really positive. …

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The Educator’s Delusion

Read even a small amount of economics, and you might start to believe that human beings have things pretty much worked out. At its heart, economics views us as rational beings that make consistent, logical decisions on how to live. Quite in opposition to this, …

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On Razors & The Nature Of Technology

I am not facially hirsute, and so shaving has never been something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. My bathroom cupboard has housed the same Gillette Mach 3 razor for the last 15 years, and with the cartridges being extremely pricey, I’ve long …

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