Thursday, April 16, 2015

We Have to Stop Pretending...

This is our "off" week for #OpenTeachingOU chats (next chat details: Friday, April 24), but I wanted to share Scott McLeod's great "We Have to Stop Pretending" challenge here. Scott's challenge is something that Rob and Stacy and I chimed in on at Google+, and our responses reflect many of the themes that have come up in past chats as you can see below!

It's not easy to try to encapsulate ideas this way, but it is really thought-provoking, and looking at other people's lists just adds to the thought provocation. If anybody else wants to chime in with their "five things we have to stop pretending," that would be great! You can comment here, post at your own blog — share wherever you like to share online!

Also, you can follow the #MakeSchoolDifferent hashtag at Twitter, and there's usually good stuff to see by taking a look at #OpenTeachingOU.

Happy teaching and learning, everybody!

From Stacy:

We have to stop pretending that...

1 - that traditional classrooms model critical thinking
2 - that students are active learners in traditional teaching models
3 - that students can see the big picture over all the mindless memorization
4 - that students are learners, not creators
5 - that learning begins and ends in the classroom

From Laura:

We have to stop pretending that...

1. That we can leave poverty out of the picture.
2. That standardized tests and grades measure learning.
3. That students can learn if they are bored.
4. That people who have never been teachers are "education experts."
5. That a traditional classroom is the best place for teaching and learning.

From Rob:

We have to stop pretending that...

1. That our stories are the stories they need or want to know
2. That centripetal learning models can prepare students for a centrifugal life experience
3. That learning is about right answers and static information sets
4. That knowledge is meaningful without connection to other
5. That graduating or getting a certificate/degree is an end instead of the very beginning


  1. I made sure to NOT read the other posts to avoid bias. I'll go back and read them after posting.

    We have to stop pretending that...

    1) Students don't want to learn.
    2) all students need to learn the same material.
    3) the classroom is a vacuum and students are not affected by outside factors.
    4) we are not going to have "bad days" in our classroom.
    5) relationships and compassion gets in the way of learning.

    1. Oh, this is great: just like with Rob and Stacy, I read yours and I think, "OH, why didn't I figure out a way to say that??!" I especially like the parts about compassion and having "bad days"... so true for both teachers and for students. And it is exactly because of those inevitable bad days that we need all the compassion we can muster! :-)

    2. I really love #4! And, as you point out, Laura, that should motivate us to new levels of compassion.

  2. My humble first pass...
    We have to stop pretending that:
    1. Everyone should follow the same educational path toward the same goal
    2. Technology (especially Internet & mobile) is an optional part of education
    3. "Education" is an activity or time period rather than a way of life
    4. “The way we learned” should be “the way they should learn”
    5. That learning information is more important than learning enduring skills – learned only by doing/making

    1. I particularly like #3 and #4, Ken. They both point to the mistaken idea of learning as some kind of static, closed set of behavior/outcomes.

    2. As I was saying to Ken last night at Twitter, the one that really grabbed me here was “The way we learned” should be “the way they should learn” ... that sense of generational self-satisfaction and mistrust of "kids today" is probably perennial! I sometimes wonder if those of us who are interested now in new ways of teaching/learning were the ones who were frustrated by school back in our day. I know that is my case; I sometimes feel like I am trying to create the kinds of classes I so desperately wanted when I was a bored and frustrated kid all those years in school!

  3. I accepted the challenge and a challenge from Laura (to do a blog post). Here are my five:

  4. I love the way this conversation is spreading out over different spaces! If people have not looked at Medium, Josh's post is a perfect excuse for you to do that. :-)

    1. Exactly! Medium is a really great space of putting your ideas out there easily and beautifully. Way to rock it, Josh!

  5. One of the weird things about Blogger comments (and totally annoying I will admit) is that it doesn't automatically link a raw URL, but here it is linkified :-)

  6. Lots of good stuff here. Thanks, everyone, for participating!

    I particularly like...

    Stacy's #2 and #3
    Laura's #3
    Rob's #1 and #3 (and may need help unpacking #2!)
    Ken's #2
    Josh's #1 and #3 (and his #5 is deadly accurate but completely dismaying)

    I added all of these to the master collection: (12 pages and counting!)

    1. Scott, this has been such a great challenge!!! I have really enjoyed watching the hashtag at Twitter, and you have inspired us to think of some more challenges like this to pose in our #OpenTeachingOU chats to come. Thanks so much for the challenge, and I am glad we can contribute to the #MakeSchoolDifferent scene!!!
      BTW we had an excellent discussion (still ongoing) about Rob's centripetal/centrifugal here at G+


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