“Below them the town was laid out in harsh angular patterns. The houses in the outskirts were all exactly alike, small square boxes painted gray. Each had a small, rectangular plot of lawn in front with a small line of dull-looking flowers………
In front of all these houses children were playing. Some were skipping rope, some were bouncing balls……
“Look!” Charles Wallace said suddenly. “They’re skipping and bouncing in rhythm”……
This was so. As the skipping rope hit the pavement, so did the ball. As the rope curved over the head of the jumping child, the child with the ball caught the ball. Down came the ropes, Down came the balls. Over and over again. Up. Down. All in rhythm. All identical. Like the homes. Like the paths. Like the flowers.
Then the doors of all the houses opened simultaneously.”
L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Square Fish/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012. 115. Print.
The portion above described The Land of Camazotz — from one of my favorite books.
And yet, it seems so familiar…..when you stop to compare with:
Flipped classrooms! iPad carts! Campus Facebook Colonies! Twitter Classrooms! Standards!
And also this article that Will Richardson linked to on his blog: http://willrichardson.com/post/29215055376/the-local-internet-school — THE LOCAL INTERNET SCHOOL.
and personally, I am becoming scared….very scared.
That we are moving from one norm and just creating another.
As teachers return to school – are they starting anew and fresh with a blank slate of opportunity or are they merging just into a pattern of acceptability that has now been “deemed” 21st century classrooms?
- Are we encouraging creativity when in reality we are encouraging just a new conformity?
- Have we replaced boring students with powerpoint with creating confusion with wide-open internet searching and learning without teaching discernment and checking for credibility?
- Are we teaching at our comfort level when in fact, we are the only ones that are comfortable?
- Are you so emphatic that you have to blog, tweet, ipad, flip, skype, 24/7 learning because everyone else is — that you have not yet even stopped to question why?
As you begin this new school year — I don’t want to ask you what you will be doing differently — instead I want to ask you WHEN WILL YOU START PLANNING?
Are you a teacher who already has the year planned out – yet you have not yet met your students?
Are you a teacher who has immersed yourself with twitter and blogs and facebook and more this summer with professional development and heard what other people are doing and have decided that is what YOU MUST do as well?
Are you a teacher who has every single bulletin board in place, ever name tag on desks, and your students already assigned tasks?
Instead, I ask, would you be willing to wing it on your first day of school with blank bulletin boards, hopes (but not yet written goals), and plans to create an environment that is based on nothing else except it is the best for your students in 2012/2013?
Or — will you begin to create a Camazotz?
Just my thoughts this morning.