OK! I’m lilly-white, southern, unsophisticated in the ways of the world, and I’ll bend over backwards for a good barbecue chicken. I say, “Sir!”, and I talk slow, so that people can savor what I’m saying (plus I think pretty slow).
So what am I doing, speaking to educators in an inner-city school in New Jersey?
I had supper last night with an old friend, Greg Farley, and a new friend, Leslie Blatt (NJ Association of School Librarians) — and I heard some startling stories about teaching in these schools. I’m sure that they are not unusual stories, but I confess that total lack of experience with schools that can be extremely challenging.
I do believe this, however. I believe that just like in Kansas, the key to a student’s love of learning is empowering them to learn. The key to keeping teachers is empowering them to teach. I believe that if you can figure out how to take the stories that are in the children’s lives, focus them through multimedia it to the fundamental experience and the wisdom that comes from that experience, and then tell that story to the world in compelling ways, kids, like everyone, will feel worth, and the inclination to invest in themselves.
I’ll be promoting blogging, podcasting, digital story telling, and a healthy mix of contemporary literacy and new shape of information, for seasoning. A tossed salad, that I hope, will not be too irrelevant to what these embattled educators do.