Drivers or Passengers?

Often the first 5 minutes of my day begins by looking quickly through my Twitter feed. I don’t always get to do that, but just yesterday afternoon I led a class on Twitter for Teachers and I thought I’d better look to see what was being said in the Twitterverse.

I came across this post from Dr. Moran, Albemarle’s superintendent. Simple question: Are kids (in a class) a driver, or a passenger?

The traditional model for classrooms throughout the twentieth century, epitomized in now classic black and white photographs, is of a student-as-passenger arrangement.

[Portrait of Arthur Aaron, ca. July 1947] (LOC)

I think it’s an important question to ask, one to ponder, and one to discuss. If we’re serious about student engagement, we know that driving is far more interesting than simply being a passenger. We also know that everyone can’t be a driver all the time. Moran tweeted just minutes later with this.

If we don’t use strategies to flip our admin meetings as we’d like to see in our classes, why would we expect more of tchers [sic] than ourselves?

I think the same thing about our professional development sessions. I often get in front of teachers attending because it’s efficient. But I need to do more to sit down, and ride as a passenger, and let my colleagues drive. Changing the roles of driver vs. passenger is a cultural shift, just not a pedagogical one.