Mental broccoli & Miles Davis

2015milesdavis_gettyimages-2641868230715-article_x4broccoli

Because, why not, right?

I started blogging as a different way to communicate with and for my students and about my experiences as a teacher.

Shortly thereafter, they started blogging [I had them start is more accurate] as well. It’s all this punk’s fault [If you’d like to learn a lot of things about thinking, art, music and education, check it out. And no, punk is not a slight; he’s only threatening in minor way.]

“Why do we have to do this?” came much earlier than I anticipated. After 18 years in the classroom, I tell my students that not much that happens in the classroom surprises me anymore. It surprised me, however, when a few students weren’t exactly jazzed about blogging. Part of that should be expected: it’s a different thing and change is often met with resistance [which is fine – I want my students challenging me, the status quo, etc].

But it’s blogging, it’s computers, it’s the Internet…. it’s the shiny red button? No? It wasn’t exactly a thud, dud or spud, and I wasn’t expecting a parade to be thrown, feting me like a Roman emperor, but some reacted as if I was a salesman from Blammo.

You know, Ren and Stimpy:

ren-stimpy-log-blammo-l
Just try forgetting the song

As I forge through my 18th year, I’ve taught long enough to know that I need to innovate, change, and adapt to teach not necessarily as I was taught, but teach as my students need me to teach. It’s no  longer the 20th Century, but much of school is still organized by, curriculum is still organized by and many teachers still teach as if it were the 20th Century. [But, I’m not advocating a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” approach: being wise about the past as a guiding principle – just not the only one – is a good idea]. For a peek into what needs to change in education, watch this documentary trailer for “Most Likely to Succeed” – h/t @clonghb.

“But, orderly to end where I begun…” (Thanks, Will)

Vegetables. They’re good for you. Really good for you.

So is thinking, and being creative, being challenged, being uncomfortable.

Hence, blogging with my students.

The keys to being a successful student, heck, a successful learner, is, generally to be like Miles Davis (Yep. It’s a steep learning curve here). Educated in a somewhat proper manner, Davis was accepted into Juilliard. He had the basics, the standard information and education; Juilliard gave Davis a foundation. But what allowed him to explode onto the music scene was his time in  jam sessions, playing in clubs, learning and experimenting.

Not everybody gets to create new forms of art; but everybody can DIY.

That’s what blogging is. It’s experimental; it’s jazz, punk, hip hop; it’s skafunkrastapunk; blogging is street. But the best blogs have the best writing.

There’s the vegetables.

Eat up.

HRH Gill

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