Thursday, October 20, 2011

Readin, Writin, & Listenin to Learn

When I'm not reading and writing, I'm listening. My two favorite people to listen to as I get ready for work, sit on the subway, do chores, or exercise are Brett and Laurette. Laurette Lynn is the host of The Unplugged Mom Podcast. Brett Veinoette hosts the School Sucks Podcast. They both share provocative and refreshing insights into schooling, learning, and solutions to real education reform. Below is each host's description of their podcast and a link to a podcast each of them have done with a student frustrated by school.
The Unplugged Mom Podcast
(visit in iTunes at this link)
Centered on home education and independent learning, this is the Podcast for the active parent, out-of-the-box thinker and anyone who lives, thinks and thrives outside the current of the mainstream flow – and wishes to “unplug” from school-paradigm living and thinking.

Unplugged Youth – Challenging the Current with Luke!

Hear from a schooled kid who unplugged himself despite his schooling! That’s right folks, this is a special interview with Luke Lawerson, a schooled teen who defied the status quo from inside the status quo! This young man has the unconventional skill of seeing the forest from inside the trees and used his unusual view to put the challenge to the school faculty. Luke was ‘expelled’ from the perceived “smart” program for his audacity but presses onward. Listen to his story and you’ll agree that young Luke is destined for something spectacular!
(Luke’s essays are referenced in the recording, you can review them here)
School Sucks Podcast
In my 10+ years of teaching, "school sucks"  is perhaps the most common phrase I've heard students use to describe their feelings about public education. But this seemingly bitter and reductive slogan is actually quite clever. When taken literally, "school sucks"  is perhaps the most accurate and astute synopsis of the system I've ever heard. Here's why...
  1. The twelve-year process of an American public education has a dramatic effect on the mind of a child. When we first enter school at age six, many of our best personal attributes are already in place. We are curious, innovative, unique, creative and hopeful in ways that we will rarely be able to replicate throughout the rest of our lives. But over time, school sucks those essential attributes out of too many of us...and replaces them with predictability, obedience and apathy.   
  2. The public school system sucks off the productive capacity of hard-working people. The system is funded through taxation.  In other words, whether public education succeeds or fails (spoiler alert: it fails) at providing real education to the public, the cost goes up every year. There are no refunds.
054: Emergence
emergence (noun):
1. coming out of, passage out
2. a beginning
3. coming into sight

Erica Goldson discusses her story of freeing herself from the constricting environment and expectations of government school over-achievement. I equate the school experience to being stuck in a narrowing tunnel, and Erica's story provides an inspiring example of the ability to emerge from it.

Also discussed:
-"America's Economic Needs" explored
-Engaging peers and confronting authorities
-Dealing with the 'fight or flight' responses of others
-Squandered opportunities for critical thinking
-One good teacher

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