Friday, November 30, 2007

Preparing young people for jobs

Doug over at Borderland raises an interesting question. Actually, he only relays the question from Gerald Bracey:
Is job preparation what schools should be about?
Despite all the movements to the contrary, I really believe that schools -- K-12, at least -- are not about preparation of people for jobs. They are about the preparation of people for life. Or at least they should be. Work is only a small part of who we are as people. And young people need the opportunity to discover who they are. If schools are focused on preparing students for 21st century jobs, when do young people get to even think about who they are and what interests them?

On the other hand, we do need to make sure that young people have an ability to think and reason and that they can read and write. I think that they need to be encouraged to develop their creativity. And to me, those are job skills.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One of my favorite stories

I was reading my Bloglines feeds when I ran across this story, which made it into my email box several years ago. It is about retiring in Mexico. My husband and I had received it and then, apparently, deleted it but finally found it again about 6 months ago. And today I found it here in a post at Common Craft.

It is important to live life as we go along, not waiting for some magical future. That's a decision my husband and I made 36 years ago, and we have tried to live by it. Our lives have not been comfortable in a traditional sense, but we wouldn't change it for anything.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reflecting on practice

Reading Adult Education and Technology, I came across a list that the author had gotten from Vicki Davis at Cool Cat Teacher. There were 20 questions in the list, mostly relating to the use of technology by teachers and students. There was one question that I found especially interesting:
19. Have you changed anything significant about ALL of the courses you are teaching THIS YEAR?
I have always wondered how a teacher could just do the same thing over and over again every year. I had teachers like that in high school back in the dark ages, and I have seen teachers like that recently. But I don't get it. Even if you teach the same classes over and over again (Especially if you teach the same classes over and over again!), your students and your classes are never exactly the same from one year to the next. They have different needs and different interests. Why would a teacher not want to tap into those differences each year?

Another interesting question was this one:
14. Is more than 50% of your content relevant "to life?"
As an adult educator, I would like to think that everything that goes on in my class will help students get through life. I wonder, though, if that is true. It probably is true in some long-term existential way, but I am not so sure my students would agree if I were to ask them.

Teaching is not an easy job. If we are to do it well, we must consider the needs of our students, their interests and abilities, and their reasons for studying. We must reflect on our own practice and continue to learn ourselves so we can improve what it is we do and how we do it. The Internet offers teachers a chance to learn and to reflect. All we have to do is make a little effort.

Friday, November 09, 2007

So what's the problem?

I was excited a couple weeks ago to read Konrad Glogowski's post on How to Grow a Blog. I loved the graphic he used with his students to get them thinking about their blogs. I wanted to use it to come up with a new plan for this blog. But somehow or other, it hasn't happened. I can't seem to come up with a plan.

I think this has something to do with the fact that I am still making the transition from Intensive English program instructor to adult educator. I am, in some ways I think, still fighting the transition a little. I can't quite see myself in this new role -- even though it is one I have taken on before.

I want this blog to speak to who I am and what I am doing now. I want to use it to learn more about teaching my adult students. I want to use it to reflect on my practice. But I can't quite figure out yet how to do that.

I have been looking for blogs by adult educators because I want to read about their practice. I know that my blog reading has always inspired and shaped my posts here, so this seems like a necessary step. But I have not had much luck finding Adult Ed blogs. Any suggestions?