Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brain fog resulting from working in silos

It's not often that I have an experience that reminds me distinctly of high school, but around midnight tonight I did.  Throughout the day today I did several things all related to my growth as a professional and as a learner, including:

  • Worked on a paper for my educational planning class
  • Completed a module for an online class about the CCSS Math standards
  • Read two chapters in Essential Questions by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
  • Investigated the NBCT renewal process and started planning my journey
  • Read and tried to comprehend chapter 7 of my stats class 
As I was finishing the chapter in stats and muddling through the practice problems, I realized that 1) it was beyond my brain's optimal work time and 2) all of the concepts and thoughts were swirling randomly in a fog of unrelated learning.  In that moment, I remembered high school...working on Algebra 2 problems followed immediately by some AP European history mixed with a little chemistry and lets not forget a novel study of the Grapes of Wrath.  No connections or relationships, just a series of tasks that had to be done before school the next day.

Unlike yesterday, where I blogged about experiences coming together, today there is no overlap. No commonality, and no break through of thought.  And, no application or way for me to use all this new knowledge.  Learning skills in isolation doesn't work too well for me. And, it certainly doesn't work very well for our students.  But yet, it is still common place in schools from elementary school to doctoral programs. 

Education reform can't come quick enough for me!  I dream of the day where content is truly embedded in real-world, inquiry based problems and experiences, where content is carefully and meaningfully selected and organized to maximize the understanding and depth of learning for students.  

Unfortunately, my world will continue to remain in these silos for the next year. Perhaps my task needs to be to find the common, intersecting points between each of these long-lasting expenses I've gotten myself into.  One thing is for sure: a lot of reflection on the learning process awaits me.

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