Saturday, March 19, 2011

Booge in his element....

I love to play chess. I love to be in an imaginative world when everything that happens happens because of what I choose to do. It can all be calculated, figured out, determined.

I think that is why I like teaching so much. The way we do school is so much like a chess game. It is all calculated, all figured out, all played within determined formal rules. The difference is that there is no opponent in school, no dialectic or feedback loop in school, so it never seems to change. That is why I hate it so much!!

No two chess games are ever the same because there is a partner or opponent, in the game who joins in the creation of ideas that are played out on the board. Chess is a collaborative exercise in imagination. School is not, at least in the predominat paradigm. No two schools are ever really that different because there is no interplay of ideas, especially in schools that pride themselves on being content driven! They are all the same, independent or public.

School, like chess, is not about real life. School is artificial and so is the learning that we do there. It is formal and in the long run, the content is meaningless. Its rewards are external and therefore not self sustaining.

Real learning is done in the muck of living. Games like chess and school prepare us to play real life, but they are so far removed from real life that we often confuse them for it. The real problem with school is its own exaggerated sense of importance....and the learners are never allowed to play and collaborate in the outcome. School is all about teaching and never it seems about learning. Chess is all about imagination, and never about doing. The teachers think they have all the answers when they do not even know the questions!

The big question is, who would come to school if we didn't make them! Who is in their element in school?

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