K12 Confrence- “Release the Hounds” by Chris Harbeck
I was rather reluctant to sit down to another K12 conference. Perhaps this was because the first one I watched took so very long, or perhaps because I have trouble sitting and watching my computer screen for that long (I do a fair bit of multi-tasking if I’m in front of my computer, such as dancing or eating supper during my online class), as it feels like I’m not accomplishing much. Being especially busy right now, it occurred to me that I could just download the audio from a presenation, and listen to it while at the gym, thus pleasing the time-concious multi-tasker in me. This is also how I get myself to listen to podcasts, which I quite enjoy, but usually can’t justify listening to without accomplishing something else simultaneously.
Chris Harbecks presentation consisted of four parts. The first three I found rather repetitive, as they were about things that I’ve already learned in my ECMP 355 class. He was advocating the use of wikis, growth blogs, and scribeposting in classes (more specifically in math classes). There was very litte new to me in these three parts, except for one wonderful idea about creating a wiki for students containing tools to help them improve their blogs.
However, the fourth part of the presenation got my attention. Chris was talking about how the teacheer needs to step back, and let the student take charge of their learning. I’ve always boasted a similar view, believing that students will be able to learn the most when we give them enough room to do so. Their ideas about learning are just as good (if not better at times) as ours, as these ideas address the student’s personal learning needs, as well as play to their own interest. Students need to see that we respect their ideas too. Yet, in my Education Professional Studies textbook, I was really disappointed to read a statement saying that we should address children as incapable of learning certain concepts because of their age limits. I understand that it’s important not to overwhelm students, but if you only expect so much from them, you’ll only get so much from them. If you show them that they have great potential, they will rise to the challenge. The fourth section of Chris’s presentation confirmed this even more in my mind, as he spoke about specific students who went far beyond what anyone thought they would be capable of, just because he gave them the freedom and the support to do so.