Hire me: Education edition

My media center at Newnan Crossing Elementary, back in the day…

My media center at Newnan Crossing Elementary, back in the day…

Do you touch the future? Do you teach? Here’s why your school should hire me to work with your faculty and/or students. (Warning: this post is full of educationalese. If you don’t speak it, you might want to skip this post.)

First of all, my credentials: I was a school media specialist for 35 years, at the high school and elementary levels. Throughout, my goal was to teach students how to find and use information, on our shelves and on the internet. My lessons were structured to provide them with the opportunity to construct knowledge, to become better learners, and I worked with teachers as an instructional designer to create similar lessons for their classrooms. (Ask me sometime about the Curriculum Liberation Front.)

I also worked for 29 years with the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP), the summer program for gifted high school kids. For thirteen of those summers I was the assistant program director for instruction, which meant it was my job to ride herd on the gifted teachers on the faculty and make sure that what they were doing in the classroom aligned with the program’s goals. For three of those summers I was the full-time director. I got skills, in other words.

Throughout my career it was always my concern that our curriculum was too tied to low-level skills like knowledge and comprehension when we should be pushing students to analysis, synthesis, and evaluation — and Lichtenbergianism is actually a structure for provoking those higher skills.

“But Dale,” you say, “we already tell kids to do rough drafts and outlines and revisions and all that stuff.” Sure, but do you teach them that their rough draft is supposed to be bad? That they should deliberately charge ahead and make mistakes? That failure is always an option?

Because failure should always be an option — research has shown repeatedly that organizations which promote risk-taking and celebrate failure (rather than punish it) are healthy and resilient. Further, such an environment is necessary for developing independent critical thinking skills, and if your school system is like mine, that’s supposedly what we want our students to be capable of.

So yes, Lichtenbergianism is a great framework for a school to consider using. And wouldn’t it be nice to offer a professional development session that was actually entertaining and useful? Give me a ring.