29 October 2010

something caught my eye . . . ouch!

while wandering through cyberspace and i tripped over this c.s. lewis quote, "The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts." didn't think much of it at first. but i kept pulling it back up. there's something in it that rings of truth. just can't quite put it into coherent thoughts.

so far my thoughts include:

educators (and i count myself as one) shouldn't focus their energy on getting in the way of learning. when learners are flourishing, we should be do all that is possible to not inhibit or smother that learning. wonder how often i am so focused on the "lesson" that i miss the learning that is going on in spite of me??!!

as for the deserts . . . hhmmm. wonder if mr. lewis had those reluctant learners in mind? perhaps he was referring to those that we would call students who are "substantially below proficient"? in social studies we have just been talking about how irrigation allowed (and still does) farmers to bring life-sustaining water to areas that are otherwise unable to sustain growth. without irrigation, the crops planted would either not germinate and sprout, or would soon shrivel up and die.

i've never been a farmer, but i have cared for plants and vegetable gardens ~ not always successfully. but i have learned (the hard way)
too much water = dead plants
too little water = dead plants

so now i have an image in my head. it involves educators carefully designing and implementing learning plans. it also involves loads of formative assessments ~ which lead to adjustments and individualization in the learning plans. this cycle repeats as often as necessary so that each student blossoms into his or her own unique fairy duster, desert sunflower or mojave aster.

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