On the last posting I put up what some educational theorists call the new Bloom’s Taxonomy. Well, my observations after having spent 30 plus years in about a dozen elementary classrooms in three provinces and California that there is actually very little that is ‘new’ under the sun. We seem to feel that teachers need to spend four or five or even six years preparing for a position that is when you get right down to it a moving target of constant change, class to class, grade to grade, school to school and district to district. So these university years are filled with all sorts of theories, models and regimes that when out in the ‘trenches’ become quickly obsolete and replaced by whatever educational bandwagon happens to be rolling through a district at any given time.
Hence when I read about the NEW movement towards student centered, project based education I had to bite my figurative tongue. What’s really new about that? We read about all this, wrote numberous term papers on these innovations and initiatives then promptly forgot them all and taught like we remember being taught. I know I did in my first few years of teachng. Obviously, WE were success stories from this hierarchal individual way of learning so this is what we know best. And depending of the risk tolerance by the principal at any given school new teachers were often stymied and overwhelmed by the demands of the job anyway and were just fighting to survive the year.
It was only many, many years later giving exposure to other colleagues ways of doing things and my own self intiated professional development did I truly move away from the hierarchal individual to the hierarchal collective and in the last ten years or so when other than covering the core curriculum I was able to relinquish enough control for predominantly project based learning in the study of literature, science and social studies. And yes, I was an early childhood teacher so at that time this was way ahead of the curve!
But has it ever been completely true that learning is always linear and one level has to be completed before the next can be attempted? Tell that to the baby who goes from rolling around to walking bypassing the crawling stage altogether!