As I was enjoying some rest and relaxation over the holiday break, I chanced upon a conversation in the sauna at our local YWCA. What started as the usual chit chat among strangers became a long and indepth conversation about Authentic Intellectual Work. There was an artist, a teacher, and a former finance director of a large urban city out west. These folks kept asking more and more questions about the AIW framework. While talking about Construction of Knowledge, I explained how many teachers over-scaffold the thinking for our kids so the knowledge they produce is a replication fo the teacher's best thinking. For kids who have mastered the art of "playing school," this is familiar task. I explained that they are often the ones who get frustrated when teachers begin to overhaul their assignments, putting more of the onus on students to make meaning of the work. The average and below average student, however, relish the chance to get into their their own thoughts and share their ideas.
One by one each adult recalled a life-changing moment in her education when a teacher (or professor!) assigned something where the students could construct their own ideas around the content they were learning in class and how transformational that expereince was.
The whole situtation reminded me of how important our calling is as teachers. Each day we have the chance to change a life and open a door for students to see themselves as keen thinkers and important problem solvers! These young scholars will lead us in the future, some starting next week as we ring in 2012. So it is with this thought that we here at the Center wish you the very best New Year, with peace, joy, and safe travels over this hoiday break as we join forces to transform learning in 2012.
Happy AIW New Year!