Saturday, March 24, 2012

Autonomy in the Classroom

So far, most of the posts I've published here have focussed on coaching. In this, I'm going to focus in on my "real" job - teaching. I say "real" as in the one that actually pays the bills. Luckily, over a number of years at the same school, I've been able to develop a few courses that are enjoyable and challenging to teach.

This year, in my Sport & Society IDC (interdisciplinary studies) course, I tried to follow Daniel Pink's idea of autonomy in the classroom. At the beginning of the year, I asked the students to plan their class for the semester which they did and quite successfully, too. It's been a bit crazy keeping up with the teaching of a course that I didn't actually plan, but I felt comfortable enough to try it since there is quite a bit of relevant material on my computer...and Google has been rather helpful as well.

Yesterday, on a bit of a whim, I dug out E.B. White's essay entitled "The Decline of Sport." We are currently looking at a unit that the class developed called Sport (R)evolution. White, mostly famously known for penning Charlotte's Web, wrote this satirical essay in the 1950s and speculated that the constant bombardment of sport would eventually be its undoing. Given the prevalence of mass and social media, many of his prophesies have come true. Ironically, I think this blog my be contributing to much of that same "hype" of sport that we see...then again, commercial gain is not the primary goal here and I'd like to think that blogging is not inundating and is more or less a positive pastime.

In any case, from an pedagogical perspective, I am trying to apply the lessons from Daniel Pink's writing and his predictions for what student's will need when they leave school to survive in the fast-paced, technologically driven world.

Hopefully, creating the opportunity for students to ask questions, to think outside the box and to construct meaning from the connections hey make in the world around them will be meaningful both now and in their future!

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