This post is just another one of my opinions. Please comment with yours as I would love to learn from you.
I feel inspired to blog because of the following tweets:
I challenge you to have NO DESKS facing the front of the room this year. #ditchthefrontoftheroom
— Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) August 2, 2015
@alicekeeler my best classroom ever had no desks at all. Zebra-print chairs, butterfly chairs and bean bags. It was awesome.
— Marie Duke (@mrsmduke) August 2, 2015
While I understand what these folks are trying to do, I can’t help but wonder why we continue to focus on extremes in education. You know – “NO MORE WORKSHEETS” or “PAPERLESS CLASS” as if we have to be one way or the other – but never in the middle.
Full discosure – I tried the paperless gig and it wasn’t for me.
I truly believe in a balance. Everything in moderation.
I also stopped using my teacher desk because I saw others doing the same last year. Bad approach. I’m not those teachers – I need the desk for many reasons. Why does ditching my desk make me “progressive”? I’m putting it back. It’s a shared workspace.
As for student desks, some kids might want one. I see the desk as a great workspace for many – maybe not all kids – but I’m not ready to throw them all out to be “progressive” – instead I will let them choose with my guidance about what I – and they – think is best.
Similarly with testing and grades. Until we have a system wide reboot – tests should continue for those who are heading into professional academia. I feel strongly that not testing certain students is a disservice as they are heading to a world of testing. I’m not a fan of testing – I am merely speaking from a systematic standpoint. Tests still exist and the skill of writing one should be taught. Hmmm. Test taking as a competency. Now we are onto something #CompetencyBasedLearning.
As for #ditchingthefrontoftheroom, I think Alice is spot on, but it is the front of the room I have issues with – not how the desks face. If you have four walls, you should have four fronts – each with it’s own unique purpose.
I feel better about this tweet and what others think with respect to standing but I wonder why we are replacing desks with tables? It’s like replacing a computer lab with a mobile cart lab. Same pedagogy methinks.
— Kara Weber (@lovinafarmboy) August 2, 2015
Our four intermediate classrooms will all have desks in the hall on the first day of school in September. Thats 110+ kids. We will build the setup together. Some desks will remain, some will go.
My challenge to you is not #DitchTheFrontofTheRoom but to re-define the front of the room. I also challenge you to #GiveStudentsChoiceAndVoice.
Please don’t think I am picking on anyone, I mean no offence. I am just questioning the “extreme” decisions we often make in education without considering all angles and sides.
Thanks for reading.