Last night I did something that I hadn’t done for age. It reminded me of my youth, my hey-day, back before I had to actually get up for work and function as an adult. I gave in to my guilty pleasure… I stayed up half the night and read a book. Cover to cover. To be honest, I didn’t want it to end.
I was reading Dennis Littky’s Big Picture book – The Big Picture: Education is Everything. I was enthralled. All of the professional reading I have done over the last few years, months and weeks have shaped my thinking about learning, education and teaching. Yet Littky’s recount of his journey to set up The Met School and the other Big Picture schools was the funnel which pulled all of my thinking together. I felt like I was listening to an old friend explain why our goals for Hobsonville Point Secondary are not only valid but should be the goals of all educators worldwide.
I know that this sounds evangelical. I think for me it was. I finished reading around 3.30am and fought the urge to jump on a plane and head to Rhode Island. I normally have such a disciplined approach to academic reading (taking notes, writing questions for myself to consider, linking and cross-referencing ideas etc.) but I did none of that.
I think for me it is the idea of education working for each kid, allowing them to be masters of their own learning and to really find their passions and work on them is the key. For me, as a student, I was totally into academic subjects (Classics is still my fave) but I consider so many others I know – friends who struggled at school and have now found their niche as hairdressers, artists, mechanics, data analysts, IT people who do jobs I don’t really understand, to my son who has extreme successes in the subjects he loves at school and simply goes through the motions for the rest of the day – those of whom would have thrived in an environment such as The Met School.
So this time, I have no notes to share. I don’t even feel inclined to make any. Buy this book. Read this book. It should be a must for all teachers and those involved in education.
Here is link to Littky and Grabelle’s text on Amazon
This is a link to the school itself – http://www.bigpicture.org/