Thoughts on INPEC 2014

A few thoughts coming back from our Indiana Non-Public Education Conference:

1–The more things change, the more they stay the same, don’t they?  Time and again, our speakers told us that our students–not the teacher–should be doing the work in the classroom.  I had flashbacks to Harry Wong!

The idea of “students doing the work” is not new.  And, when we think about it, the idea isn’t novel, either.  In fact, it should be what school is all about!  But in the era of teacup kids and helicopter parents, the expectation is that the TEACHER will do all the work and the student will (somehow… maybe through osmosis?  diffusion?  absorption?) sit back, not have to do anything, learn everything, and be the next president/astronaut/find-a-cure-for-cancer doctor.

It is a delicate line we walk in trying to allow students to succeed and fail and yet having to coax them to do so… all while assuring mom and dad that the struggle is worth it.

2–I heard a lot about flipped classrooms, flipped learning, and students having a voice in their education.  Yes!  This is great!  But then the thought hit me:  Are we doing that with our teachers?  Do administrators give teachers a voice in faculty meetings?  How about in professional development?  I find it ironic and sad that we tell teachers that they shouldn’t rely on lecture and they shouldn’t use PowerPoint or Prezi as a crutch… all while lecturing to them while showing a slide show.  There has to be a better way and I will be spending time to look into it.

3–On the topic of administration:  How are you doing at being a “releasing” leader?  Teachers, are you releasing control to students?  Do you let them have a voice in classroom rules or projects?  Do you let them do the work?  Administrators, are you allowing others to have a voice in the school?  Do you let teachers lead meetings and have some say in their professional development?

4–I was saddened to see that one of the sectionals offered dealt with “searching for the historical Jesus.”  This was a sectional presented by a teacher at one of the Catholic high schools.  I would urge my Catholic brothers and sisters to remember that once you deny the inerrancy of Scripture, you open a Pandora’s box that has its root in Genesis chapter three (“did God really say…”) and finds full bloom in atheism.

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