Thursday, March 1, 2012

We've Taught You How To Think

"All schools for miles and miles around
Must take a special test,
To see who's learning such and such -
To see which school's the best.

If our small school does not do well,
Then it will be torn down,
And you will have to go to school in dreary Flobbertown."

"Not Flobbertown!" we shouted
And we shuddered at the name,
For everyone in Flobbertown
Does everything the same.

Miss Bonkers rose "Don't fret!" she said.
"You've learned the things you need
To pass that test and many more -
I'm certain you'll succeed.

We've taught you that the earth is round,
That red and white make pink,
And something else that matters more -
We've taught you how to think."
-excerpt from "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" by Dr. Seuss

I read this book for the first time tonight. Actually to be honest my seven year old read it to me. As I listened I once again had to smile at the sheer honest genius of Dr. Seuss. Plain and simple, he got it. In this little book he hits the nail on the head. The most important knowledge we can impart on our young people is the ability to think. It is a beautifully simple but enormously difficult thing to do. In an era where many schools follow a curriculum a mile wide and an inch deep, it takes teachers and a school with the resolve to say "No." We will not simply spend our time filling our kids heads with facts, figures, names, and dates. We will not allow them to earn a diploma that signifies their graduation from our school without having forced them to analyze, to evaluate, to synthesize, to manipulate, to start from scratch, build it up, flip it over, tear it back apart, and start all over again. In short, they will not leave these halls without having to think.

I am proud to be a part of such a school. With the hard work our teachers are doing in measuring student engagement, pushing their instruction into more and more higher order thinking tasks for students, providing students with real world technology tools to create, collaborate, communicate, and contribute, and drastically shifting the learning paradigm through Project Based Learning, we are and will continue to be like the great Diffendoofer school described by Dr. Seuss.