Alternative school teachers share one particular belief: the power of permission.
Somehow, in some way, we have accepted the idea that it is okay to approach a concept in unusual, unexpected ways. A drawing exercise leads to a discussion of point of view. A standing broad jump competition uncovers the difference between personal learning and scoring higher than anyone else. In effective schools a wide variety of approaches are supported. Of course you can try something that will engage the students actively and that you think will induce more dynamic results.
Students too are expressly allowed to pursue something in ways they come up with. And they are supported in this. Sometimes it isn’t even fully identified, and they may need help to be specific enough to know where to start. Sometimes they’re lost for a while. Maybe encouragement. Maybe a closet to do Kirlian photography. But when a particular quest takes off, it integrates into how the student approaches life itself. I guess I’m trying to say that the permission remains, in students and in teachers who no longer define themselves by trying to do what is expected of them.
Leave a Reply