Education Rethink. The most recent post from Mr. Spencer's blog was an interview with Nikhil Goyal. Mr. Goyal is an advocate for the student voice and is working to better education reform. He recently wrote a book, One Size Fits All, where he addresses issues with education and also mentions some solutions that could impact schools. In the interview, Mr. Goyal says that his motivation for writing the book was to demonstrate that the solution to education problems could be solved by putting forth the effort to see the perspective of the student. This is completely true. Like Mr. Goyal says later in the interview, we should make our schools real life; we should view what we teach from the perspective of the student. Are they following what I am teaching? Will the material that I am teaching apply to their lives? If it doesn't then we have only spat out information that will not stick with our students. Another excellent point that Mr. Goyal makes is that children are natural learners. He says that every human has some form of natural curiosity and internal creativity that teachers should hone in on.
In my comment to Mr. Spencer, I introduced myself as a student in Dr. Strange's class at the University of South Alabama. I also told Mr. Spencer that I appreciated his interview with Mr. Goyal and also Mr. Goyal's stance on education reform.
The second post from Mr. Spencer's blog was titled, "Schools Aren't Prisons". In this particular post, Mr. Spencer addressed school reformists who often associate schools with prisons. He states that he has heard arguments regarding why schools are evil and why teachers want to take students' dreams and that these arguments aren't necessarily true. Mr. Spencer says that he can see why students would view schools as a prison. Some have awful experiences and are given little to no choice in the classroom. However, he says that if we relate schools to prisons, we may also view homes as prisons and other structures and fates that we cannot change. Mr. Spencer argues that lack of choice does not exactly mean that children are being abused. I especially liked his statement, "Part of being in a community is adhering to the laws chosen.
In my comment regarding this particular post, I thanked Mr. Spencer for sharing his opinion. I told him that I could also see how children would view schools as prisons and that, as teachers, we must work to provide students with a choice and to allow their voices to be heard. Only then will learning flourish. In conclusion, I said that even though I could understand a child's perspective, I wasn't sure how an adult could view a school as a prison, other than structurally. With that being said, it's the teacher's responsibility to allow students to move about freely, to work independently and with groups, and to engage in learning. If the teacher does so, then students will not feel as restricted.
I've enjoyed reading Mr. Spencer's post and have learned that I appreciate his stance on school reform and the student voice. Mr. Spencer is often sarcastic in his writing, yet it positive and believes that students and their learning experience should be at the center of the school. The posts that I have read have all been enlightening and I can say that I have learned something from each one.