Sunday, May 17, 2015

We Get What We Emphasize

I caught a Tweet this morning that struck me: "It's not about the app. It's not about the device. It's about the process."

Applying this logic to the English classroom, would these also be true: 

"It's not about the classroom novel. It's not about the classroom library. It's about the process."

"It's not about informative, argumentative, or narrative writing. It's not about the five paragraph essay. It's about the process."

I'm sure others can turn a phrase more powerfully, but what struck me is how focused we can become on the concrete. Which novel should we teach? Which type of writing should we emphasize? And now, many schools are on the hamster wheel studying which device would be best. Classroom teachers continue to pick each other's brains for a can-do, magical app.

We often forget the process is what matters most. The process gets lost in conversation. The process is often overlooked in professional development. At best it is on the docket, but never quite takes center stage.

Why does "process" get pushed off on individual teachers to figure out in isolation?

Answer: because there is no one process. For every child in our classroom, we have the potential for variances of brilliance within individual processes. Teaching and emphasizing process takes time and empathy.

And process doesn't test least not in our current state of testing.

The tweet struck me and it continues to turn the cogs in my brain. It struck me that we are stuck in education. We are indeed stuck on "device" and "app" and any number of fixed, standardized modes of content.

Device. App. Informative Writing. Tom al. None of these are unnecessary conversations, but they seem to be the only conversations.

I learned very early in my coaching career--and it is so true for education--we get what we emphasize.

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