Monday, November 27, 2006
Hey, Teacher, Leave My Kids Alone
Debating Issues Related to “Unschooling”
Michelle Sale, The New York Times Learning Network
Tanya Yasmin Chin, The Bank Street College of Education in New York City
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
Subjects: Civics, Language Arts, Social Studies
Overview of Lesson Plan:In this lesson, students will gather opinions about unschooling and the value of learning inside the classroom and in the real world. They then conduct a debate and reflect on the value of unschooling for their own education.
Review the Academic Content Standards related to this lesson.
Sandra's first-pass comments:
This lesson plan can range from a one-hour in-class activity to a week or so of follow-up, if all the suggestions are used. On one end of the spectrum I envisioned as I read it all, it could help students see the learning they do outside of school, but at the other end it seemed aimed toward helping them see that unschooling should be illegal. As a civics class lesson plan, these future voters will have a whirlwind tour of reassurance that their own schooling was justified and other methods should be voted away. (It also could be a Language Arts or Social Studies lesson; it's an interdisciplinary-connections lesson plan, which is admirable.)
Another lesson in it all, unfortunately, is the self-supporting nature of the sources.I asked _______________ people my question. The three most interesting answers I got were these: _______________; _______________; _______________. What I can conclude from all of the information is _______________.”That is filled out after five minutes of interviewing other kids in the class. That's quite a limited survey, in time and scope, but it seems to reflect what I've seen of journalism's approach to unschooling, too. Find two or three people, ask them six or seven questions, write as though you know everything about the subject. Then interview two "experts" who know even less about unschooling than you've just learned, and use their most damning soundbites to "balance" your article.
If anyone who has used this lesson plan or been in a class where it was used comes by, I'd love to hear how it was implemented and steered.
The extended activities and further questions to be used if it went from single lesson to unit would open things up better, although the recommendations still seemed to lie mostly within the school system itself for opinions and information.
The article intended for use by teachers or students in this lesson unit is Home Schoolers Content to Take Children’s Lead By SUSAN SAULNY, NY Times, November 27, 2006