Don’t accept when people tell you there was a golden age of school. Don’t accept when folks try to construct a “correct” way to read:
I really appreciate your analysis of what it means to be “dumb” in school, or at least when you get that label applied to you. We are selling so many kids short by simply keeping the “correct” order of everything in its right place. However, I think that this cuts both ways. The kids who are trying so hard to be “smart” but not quite meeting the arbitrary cut point for being capital G gifted are also a victim of the rigidity of school. Those kids who are trying to make the perfect 5 paragraph essay, but don’t realize that it is only by deviating from the form that you actually get “the 5” on the AP exam. We really must look at our narrow definitions of who gets to be “smart” and who gets to be “dumb”. Neither will get us to the point of understanding children and their needs any better.
As for the topic of “serious reading,” I cannot stand this construct. All reading is reading. All learning is valuable. We cannot apply all the same rules to new media types, and there are some types of media that change the way in which we consume and produce media. Blogging is different because it is connected to other bloggers. Video is different when it is shared from one person to a million in a few days without anything more than a Youtube channel for distribution. These things change us, but they are no less valuable than reading a “classic novel.”
We are better because of our diversity of ability and creativity. We are better because we see each other as whole. Thank you for this post, and for your careful reflection upon your own educational experience.