My friends know I am not much for fancy restaurants. I know what I like.
I love chain restaurants. Knowing what I am going to order when I walk in, appreciating, for the most part, how the food will taste and how it will be presented, is very reassuring.
I have it all planned out:
Milestones – California Salad, no goat cheese with salmon
White Spot – Veggie Burger with Yam Fries
Tim Hortons – Grilled cheese sandwich with Medium Ice Capp (shot of hazelnut)
Subway – 12 Inch Veggie on Flatbread – no olives or cucumbers with honey mustard
Booster Juice -Ripped Berry
I could go on.
So just what does my somewhat curious eating habits have to do an education blog?
I find the world to be quite chaotic. We live in constant change and the speed of the change seems to be ever-increasing. I often write about how exciting it is to be teaching and learning now. Teaching in schools today is very different from just 10 years ago. I spend my days talking about inquiry, coding, self-regulation and other terms I didn’t ever use just a few years ago. We are preparing our students for an ever-changing world, and one where most will have many more jobs than the generation before them – some that do not exist today.
It is in this world of changing politics, economics and technology that I have comfort in the fact that at least I can have certainty when I go out for a meal. So maybe Blockbuster Video no longer exists, and I cannot take my film in for developing but at least when I go to Starbucks, pretty much anywhere in the world, and order my Caramel Frappuccino Light – it will taste the same – the same in Denver or Helsinki and the same today as 10 years ago.
While I have looked for certainty in an uncertain world through some somewhat odd restaurant choices, I find many people looking for reassurance in an ever-changing world through schooling.
Let me explain . . .
Many of us romanticize our school experiences. The details have faded over time, but we remember schooling as a largely positive experience and we credit who we are today in part to our experiences in schools. So, as we become parents in this world that looks so different from when we were students there is something reassuring about schooling looking largely the same. If only our children can have the same experiences that we had in school, they will be OK – like us. Parents like that learning is generally organized the same as it was 30 years ago. Students go to their classes daily from September to June from 9 AM – 3 PM attending subjects that rotate every hour from Math to PE to Art. And this is reassuring. As our communities change at least schools stay the same.
We need to continue to challenge this. While it is odd and quirky that I find assurances through my choice of restaurants, it is far more dangerous for our children if we do not continue to challenge the notions of learning and schooling. We need to continue to think about how we organize subjects, we need to continue to give students greater control over what, when, and how they learn and we need to embrace the possibilities of modern learning and new technologies in our schools.
I get how it would be far easier to slow down the pace of change in our schools and allow our students to complete the same worksheets we did in school, read the same Shakespeare plays and do the same science experiments. There is definitely something appealing about trying to return to a simpler time.
I find it a daily challenge as I watch my children learn differently than I learned in school – I worry they are missing out. In an uncertain world, we need schools to ensure they stay relevant and engaging and embrace this uncertainty.
I will be at the Food Court if you want to discuss this further.