In the book "Why School?" Will Richardson challenges the purpose of school and the restrictions set on students and presents possible reforms. Richardson argues that "With the options for college and work undergoing dramatic shifts, we can no longer prepare students for traditional expectations more than a century old. More and more, our children will have the chance — and, increasingly, be expected — to forge their own paths to an education and into the workplace. That’s a challenge and an opportunity. It means, as Canadian education researcher Stephen Downes says, that “we have to stop thinking of an education as something that is delivered to us and instead see it as something we create for ourselves”" (p.19). In other words, the current structure of education is outdated and lacks the components that one needs to be "literate" in today's "social" society. Richardson believes that students need to acknowledge the value of their own education and feel passionate about the content they are learning in order to succeed in today's changing society. I strongly agree with Richardson's point-of-view that the traditional ways of school are no longer meeting the expectations of being a literate individual in society. We as educators, and I as a math educator, need to help our students see that education is something that we create for ourselves and is not something that is delivered to us; by creating an environment in our classrooms that promote this philosophy. We need to allow students to have an opportunity to investigate their mathematical ideas and persevere until they realize they have come up with a new idea or have reached a roadblock which implies they have created a scenario that does not work. This shows how students can learn that education is something that they create because they were able to conclude they have encountered a new concept or that they cannot reach something new with the approach they took. I felt that this tied closely with Richardson's idea that we as educators should allow students to discover curriculum and not simply deliver the curriculum.
Therefore, I believe that of the six Unlearning/Relearning ideas I will be able to easily commit to “Discover, don't deliver, the curriculum”. When I first decided to enter the profession of education I did not believe that mathematics could be a subject that students could discover on their own. That biased viewpoint was instilled in my head because of the education that I had when I was in high school. I remember sitting in my mathematics classes taking notes and watching the teacher solve problems. After watching the teacher solve several problems we were allowed time to solve problems on our own. However, after teaching Integrated Mathematics 1 at El Camino High School and currently at Vista High School I now have a new viewpoint that students can indeed learn mathematics by discovering concepts on their own through independent work or with their peers. Not only do I believe that students can learn mathematics and be successful learning by discovering, I strongly believe that students' understanding of mathematics is solidified by discovering rather than being shown a procedure.
I believe that of the six Unlearning/Relearning ideas I will struggle with “Share everything”. This is because I have always struggled with social media and posting. By no means does this imply that I am against technology. Besides mathematics, chemistry, and physics, another favorite subject of mine is computer science. My struggle with the idea of “Share everything” does not have any correlation to me having problems sharing ideas either, because on the contrary I enjoy collaborating with others. The struggle occurs because I do not keep up with social media and do not feel that I have time to post and share lessons regularly. Therefore, I have challenged myself to work towards being socially literate and engage myself in social media because this will help me support my students to become literate individuals in today's society.
Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere by Will Richardson
I love mathematics and how everything in mathematics can be proven going back to simple axioms. I am a mathematics educator at heart and I hope to make learning mathematics fun for all my students and hope to instill the value of education in all my students.