John Spencer's Blog
The Medium Shapes the Learning
I very much agree with this post, if the message I took from it is correct. When picking a tool to use for educational purposes, I think that it is not so important to focus on the credibility it has for "fun" and "productivity". Although these are important factors in choosing a tool, if the tool does not shape the child's way of learning as is needed then that tool not the best choice. John Spencer clearly states that the intended meaning of the medium and how its going to affect a child's changing life is more crucial than the simple "fun" and "productivity" factors.
He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils
This post by Mr. Spencer follows well after his previous post. Although he does incorporate fun into his classroom, he also enforces strict rules. He does not just stop with the rules and scare the students away, though. He respects them as his equals and helps them to understand how important learning is. Any new tool can be fun for a day, but when it comes down to how learning affects and shapes a child's life the relationship the child has with the teacher is what matters.
Sketchy Portrait: 8th Grade Identity and Pencils
I think it's great the John Spencer understands that sometimes what children say may appear rude, but it is just their way of expressing themselves. I guess many teachers have forgotten what it was like when they were in eighth grade. Throughout our entire lives we are constantly changing. Teachers must learn to accept their students as friends who they are helping out on the difficult journey of growing and learning. It is important that a child is understood as an individual with a changing life life and feelings as the rest of us. Teachers can choose to be either the pencils or the pens. John Spencer is an enlightened pencil, who recognizes the gray area of change in between the black and white permanency of life. He infuses this knowledge of never-ending change and the individual life of each child into his relationship with his students. At the same time, the teachers who are permanent pens feel the best way to teach a child is through discipline and structure through strict, unyielding rules. The procedures of teaching are not to be forgotten, but the relationship with students is a must.
Just Teach Them to Solve for X
I remember distinctly the last time I used metaphors knowingly. I was in the third grade and we had to draw pictures of the metaphors we used, such as "He's got the whole world in His hands". I never understood the importance of metaphors, however. I have realized everything that is learned is important, and how you apply it is what truly matters. Simply learning something isn't enough. The material learned should be explored, questioned, and not taken for less than it really is. Mr. Spencer says that metaphors are our way of making sense of those things in life that are between tangibility and abstraction. It causes us to truly think deeper about things, which constructs and shapes our growth of knowledge. If we could view other people's opinions as unique from our own and realize that the metaphor in their mind may not in line with our own, we would be open to more possibilities. We have to be able to form our own ideas apart from the given tangible or abstract facts. This enables us to be individuals with different ideas, while having a clearer perception of reality.