Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Farming and Education

My desire to raise more of my family's food really comes from the same roots that feed my educational philosophy.  Even though I am at a conference devoted to technology in education and my gardening and animal husbandry practices use as little technology as possible, I believe they come from the same route of trusting your own self, creating your own bank of knowledge built on trial and error (using data from missteps, mistakes, and failures to change course), developing your own passion and your own, possibly idiosyncratic way of doing things.

Although I am sitting in a large city, surrounded by all the fanciest tech gadgets for education, the spirit of this conference is as far from the standardized, mass-produced education that is increasingly promoted in popular culture as living on a rural plot of land and raising your own chickens is from buying Styrofoam containers of chicken and eggs at the grocery store.  The tech is the tool, not the aim.

The aim is to ignite passionate curiosity, fuel creativity, foster questioning and exploration and doing it yourself.  I am so tired of people saying that kids can't .... kids can do amazing things when you create an environment that allows for autonomy, challenging problems to solve, understanding constraints in time time and resources,  thinking with your hands, developing knowledge, skill, and expertise, and receiving encouragement.  I actually got that last bit out of my best workshop yesterday -"Creativity is the Killer App" by Chris FItzgerald Walsh- but look how it applies to farming!  

I want to bring the same kind of frustration and joy, failures and success, the innate feedback (if you don't water those tomatoes in your greenhouse - guess what?!), challenge, hands-on thinking to my classroom.  I want every teacher to bring that to their classroom.  


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