Over time our educational system has unfairly created a curriculum hierarchy where mathematics and science enjoy a higher status than music and the arts. This often unintended curriculum hierarchy is pervasive in almost every school system, at every level, and puts our students in a difficult position of choosing to develop their natural abilities or focus on subjects they associate with “getting them into college.” This trend has resulted in a decline in the number of music and art courses being offered in some schools and a reduction in seat time at others. Some schools have abandoned music at the elementary level altogether to either cut costs or to reallocate precious resources to other (tested) areas.
Stereotypes are widely held and oversimplified ideas or images that everyone within a certain group shares the same characteristics. Stereotypes are often based on ideas or experiences with certain individuals and then extended to apply to an entire group of people. One reason stereotypes survive is because people perpetuate them and believe them to be true; however, stereotypes are always flawed because people span many different groups as their experiences and interests shape their being.
A culture of creativity is alive and well at Garnet Valley! Having so many educators from our district selected to present at #ISTE19 is humbling. I’m always amazed when I see how creative and fearless our teachers are in the classroom but to see their hard work recognized by the #ISTE19 selection committee reinforces those beliefs.
For most of our students, it is hard to imagine communicating without email or text message. The number of ways our students learn, share, and communicate has grown exponentially in the last few years. Each generation has sought to make the transfer of information faster and more efficient than the generation before them but the world today is changing at a faster and more immediate pace than at any time in our history. New technologies like Amazon’s Alexa, Merge Cubes, and Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program will be the next generation’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The nature of voice technology allows for screen-free interactions and gives students much needed life-skills practice in the areas of forming questions and focused listening. Augmented and Virtual Reality enables students to learn by doing, which increases student engagement and helps with retention and enhances learning outcomes.
When the final bell rings for the year, and all the students rush out of school, teachers don’t run out with them. They do more during the summer to improve their craft than any other profession. While I hope many of our teachers get to enjoy time with their friends and families, I know many of them are sitting on interview panels, writing and rewriting curricula, attending conferences, digitizing resources, and much more.