Isn’t it Ironic? #IMMOOC


The other day my daughter asked me, “Why can our teachers chew gum and we can’t?”  I didn’t have an answer because, to be honest, I have no idea. It got me thinking about so many rules and procedures that we have put in place for kids (and adults) that are more conducive to the game of school than actual learning and can hinder us from developing the empowered learners that our world needs.

Here are a few that stand out:

  • Students are provided their own laptops, yet cell phones are banned.– see this great post by Jennifer Casa-Todd.
  • We want students to be global citizens, yet block their access to youtube (and other important sites).
  • We open up access to digital resources but create (and print) static “digital textbooks.”
  • We know no two students are alike but assess them the same.
  • We require students to memorize facts when they can Google them (and do something with the information instead).
  • We take away opportunities for autonomy, purpose, and mastery and complain learners (teachers and students) aren’t motivated.  Check out Dan Pink’s Ted Talk– or anything else by him if you haven’t already.
  • We base school on assignments and grades when most of us learn more when we share with the world the impact we have made.

To steal a line from Alanis Morissette- Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?  

I’m looking forward to reading all the #IMMOOC posts this week that take a look at what we need to rethink in our practices to ensure we prioritize learning over school.


8 Replies to “Isn’t it Ironic? #IMMOOC”

  1. I totally connected with this post! It made me think of a question one of my students asked me a few years ago. He was wondering why he couldn’t wear flip flops in the classroom when I could wear sandals. I never could come up with a very good response to his question. Great food for thought. I’m left stumped for a response to your by your post. Thanks for getting me thinking!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I always felt this way about dress codes. We often spent too much time worrying about hats and what color their hair was instead of focusing on what and how they were learning.

  2. Crystal Slaughter says: Reply

    Yes!!!! There are so many nuances in the school culture that lead you to wonder how they came about and why we are still ascribing to them. “A little too ironic and I really do think”-Alanis Morissette. Love it! Thank you for a great read.

  3. We want our students to be well-rounded people, but we define them as a percentage, a letter grade, or GPA. It’s such a shortsighted piece of the learning story.

  4. … right direction! (Sorry! Got cut off there!)

  5. … right direction! (Sorry! Got cut off there!)

  6. This post makes me feel pretty good but I still feel constrained by rules and circumstances beyond my understanding. I have stopped enforcing gum, phones, and hats… as long as you’re respectful and get your work done and I don’t find it in my carpet… great!

    On the other hand, I give 2 tests… the required multiple choice and one that actually tells me what the student understands. And if you can google an answer, I don’t ask it.

    Still… lack of technology makes me feel like I am teaching in the Stone Age. Grrrrr! I always want my students to be able to do their own research with the most up to date information. Still, I am hopeful. I think I (and my school) are moving in the right direction.

    And my tech is going wonky! I hope this posts!

  7. This post made me think of a teacher I knew that always used to reply to these types of questions (like the gum chewing) with “there is privilege with age.” Yes this is true in a few cases but a perfect opportunity to build up the “our” classroom mindset over “my” classroom mindset was missed. It all circles back to relationships. Opportunities to empower learners are all around us, some small and some big. The more we can recognize them and act on them, the closer we will be to creating classrooms where students will be knocking down the door to get in instead of knocking it down to get out.

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