September 12, 2013
I’ve been having a lot of firsts lately when it comes to education. A few years ago I taught my first class, an ESL kindergarten class in South Korea, a few weeks ago I began my first semester of Education courses in academia, and last Thursday I facilitated my first Maker Class with the homeschoolers at Talking Stick. It was a great start to the year and I’m expecting it to only get better! I am lucky to be in a position to actively compare/contrast my academic experiences with Talking Stick and bring an interesting perspective to our team.
In my university courses I have brought up points from the Talking Stick philosophy that most of my peers are alien to. This made for lively discussions and a better educational experience for all. I was surprised however that a lot of the theories and ideologies we discussed have similarities with Talking Stick. The sad reality however is that these theories do not leave the classroom for most of my classmates as they return to their positions within the public education system. On the other hand, when I can read about Bruner’s emphasis on discovery learning and then go and see it first hand at the Awbury Thursday morning, what more could I ask for?
So as our first Maker Class was underway, I was excited to see active learning from everyone. Nobody was forced to complete a task or graded on how well they drew a picture. We created seed bombs that were messy but really fun to make, tried out a verbal sentence structure activity, and brought a new meaning to the term ‘body surfing’ (see picture above). Not only did we have fun, but I was encouraged to see that Talking Stick was a place where the best ideas about education could be practiced and not just talked about.