Small Town Classroom

Even though I work in a large school, I felt like I was in a very small town today. I walked into my classroom and five students (all girls) were knitting scarves and hats. They continued to do so throughout the discussion we had about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn while remaining engaged and being active participants. (By the way, fish bowls are wonderful tools if you haven’t used them.)

Who says kids can’t multi-task? 🙂

Anyway, I just found it quite interesting that in this day and age of the pager, the hand-held video game, and the cell phone, the simple skill of knitting took center stage as students created holiday gifts for friends and family.

Maybe we, the adults, are a bit unfair when referring to our students. I posted the question “Are We Dumber?” and maybe instead of focusing on the kids, I should have focused on how dismissive we can be of our students and their skills. Granted, I defended the kids in my recalling the conversation I overheard, but I don’t think I fully expressed why.

My students regularly create short films, video essays, and technologically advanced presentations for my courses, and I never taught them how to use the technology. They already know how to do it! Yes, maybe another teacher taught them how to do it, but I don’t think it matters. These kids today do things I never had the opportunity (or the inkling how) to do.

Basically, some kids knitting in class impressed me. They made me reflect on how much they really do know that I rarely get to see.

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One thought on “Small Town Classroom

  1. Ira

    I think that you make an important distinction when you mention kids’ skills. A kid might be obsessed with snowboarding, he or she might know all the best places to go snowboarding, have an in depth knowledge of how weather conditions affect snowboarding, be up to date on all the new equipment and technology associated with snowboarding, and even manage their budget (most high school kids work, right?) around their snowboarding hobby. And at school, this same kid might be seen as lazy because he or she is uninterested in what the teacher is teaching. Kids who are unengaged at school might be engaged outside of school. To assume they have no skills when we as teachers don’t necessarily ask them to display those skills is unfair.

    So, in late response to your earlier post, I don’t think kids are truly dumber, I think that their skills and interests are so varied that some teachers and schools are having a hard time keeping up. We’ve got to try to keep up.

    -Ira

    Reply

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