Friday, July 08, 2005

Creativity In The Classroom

Just today I received from a fellow educator in Iowa, whom I know only because we're both on an education-related emaillist, several tests and worksheets related to her pre-calculus course. What a joy it was to go through these papers and see new and interesting ways of presenting some of the same material I've been teaching for the past 2 years! Some of the creativity that went into the word problems was remarkable. There's one I still have no idea how to solve!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: education is a social process. It's greatly aided by a rapport between teacher and student and by collaboration between teachers. Compared to schools in other countries, the average American teacher spends significantly less time collaborating with peers, which means that there are fewer opportunities to share ideas on lessons, learn "best practices", coordinate pacing, etc. Isn't it amazing that by chance of fate and the internet, I get to work with a fellow pre-calculus teacher in another time zone?

And if I were giving a daily Creativity In The Classroom Award, today's would go to the subjects of this article, who use the Harry Potter books not only to get students to read, but as a basis for the study of chemistry and other sciences.
"The kids got involved, they were using science," said Donna Hammond-Cotton of Los Angeles, senior program officer with the Honda foundation. "They were not to supposed to be good readers, but they were just reading out."
Good on them!

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