A Bit of Subversion, A Few Things to View, and Something Sweet For the Holidays

wishtheworldHappy Holidays!  We’re both on break, sipping coffee, reading the whole newspaper, tackling our “next read” stack of books, staying up late watching movies with our families, and enjoying our time.  We love teaching, and we love our holiday breaks.  And nothing says Holiday Break like a bit of subversion:

Peter Pappas‘ 13 Subversive Questions for the Classroom:

  1. If a question has a correct answer, is it worth asking?
  2. If something is “Googleable,” why would we spend precious class time teaching it?
  3. When we ask students to summarize, do we actually want to know what’s important to them?
  4. What do you suppose students think they are supposed to be doing when we ask them to analyze?
  5. Do you ever ask your students questions you don’t know the answer to? Why not?
  6. Think about all those things we teach kids claiming “you’ll need to know this someday.” With the exception of teaching it, when’s the last time you needed to know any of that stuff?
  7. Do your students need more information, or skills in how to critically evaluate the information that surrounds them?
  8. How much of what’s really important in life, is taught in a classroom?
  9. Why do we usually teach all the boring facts first and save the interesting stuff for later?
  10. When we cover material, what is it that we think we have accomplished?
  11. Is being told something the same as learning it?url
  12. What would content area teaching look like if it were taught the way an art teacher teaches art?
  13. If state testing went away tomorrow, would we actually teach differently?

Ok, some of Pappas’ questions chap us a bit because he already knows the answer, but we think #4, #5, #11, #12, and #13 are worthy of the adjective “subversive.” What are your subversive questions?

Check out Pappas’ follow up post, 14 Provocative Questions.

A Few Things to Watch from TED Talks:

  1. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 11,225,783
  2. David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 8,204,051
  3. Steve Jobs on how to live before you die (2005): 5,444,022
  4. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 5,534,123
  5. Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your creative genius (2009): 5,020,869
  6. Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 4,951,918
  7. Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 4,759,217
  8. Keith Barry does brain magic (2004): 4,475,303
  9. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 4,470,236
  10. Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,997,174

And Something Sweet…

Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.

Every comfort, every joy to all of you.  We’ll see you in 2014!
Best, Joan and Pattie

About Teaching it Forward

We are high school language arts teachers in Oregon.
This entry was posted in Education, Litereacy, Social Action, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Bit of Subversion, A Few Things to View, and Something Sweet For the Holidays

  1. Joan says:

    Great question, Susan. Thanks for asking. I don’t think English teachers fall into this trap–but we do tend to teach texts in isolation from social context, which can result in the same “so what?” learning stance for our students.

  2. susan97013 says:

    Thank you! Math has a follow-up subversive question to #6:
    What would we teach if we took out all the topics that are only needed to pass a future math class?

  3. Pingback: 4 Steps Towards An Education Revolution | SoshiTech

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