I’m somewhat ashamed to admit this, but I still get birthday money from my Mom. Even more embarrassing, my Mom still calls me “tiger” as she hands me my annual gift. What do I do with my birthday loot? I buy a pair of expensive jeans …guilt free. I would never buy such a lavish gift with my own money, but my Mom always says, “Spend it on something you want, not something you need…Tiger.” When I went shopping this year, I decided to buy a different style of jeans as I recently noticed my current style was no longer in vogue. At some point over the last 12 months, the demographics of those wearing skinny jeans shifted from flat bill wearing skateboarders to the mainstream. Armed with my birthday money and advice from the really ultra-hip sales associate, I was able to make the necessary wardrobe adjustments.
Fashion is fickle and can change overnight. School trends are no different. This is my 15th year in education and I’ve experienced a complete cycle of education trends and pedagogy. In college ,we learned about interdisciplinary units and drafting engaging and creative lesson plans. I entered the profession at the inception of No Child Left Behind, and creativity took a back seat to accountability scores. Priority standards, pacing charts and item analysis reports took precedence over creativity and engagement. I would like to state clearly that I do not think a well-articulated curriculum impairs a quality education. It is essential key concepts are taught and assessed with fidelity. However, it seems as if innovation, fun, and creativity were deemed as mutually exclusive from strong academic performance. It’s refreshing to see the pendulum swing the other direction. Twitter is full of innovative strategies and ideas such as Breakout Edu, Stem, Genius Hour, and coding. Contemporary educational dialogue is heavily centered on student engagement. Presenters such as Dave Burgess and John Antonetti preach the gospel of student engagement to audiences hungry to receive the message. No educator wants to attend dull, stagnant, and lecture laden professional development. Students are no different and deserve dynamic and engaging learning experiences. Unlike blue jeans, creativity and engagement should never go out of style.