The Dream School or School Dream
(A valve is a device that allows you to "let go of pressure" when it is too high. This is for me the function of these little chronicles).
A young teacher, reflecting on her future, approached me to ask for advice about her classroom practices. We reviewed and discussed at length many aspects of this very unique profession (the relationship with the students, the notion of transmission or construction of knowledge, the methods of assessing...), reflected on the importance of certain teaching elements and criticized others, even condemned them; I admit, we executed the condemned without any mercy!
I had a dream the following night.
When I woke up and thought about it, I laughed. I do not mind sharing my dream.
Someone opened the door to a sort of ultra-modern laboratory and handed me the keys to the lab saying, "Here is your lab, Mr. Brès. I hope it suits you. "
I took in the sight, with one glance. It was perfect, exactly what I needed. I knew what was expected of me: "To create the perfect school". You know how it is in dreams... everything seems possible, even obvious.
For once I was taken seriously and given the means; I wasn't going to disappoint anyone!
I put the keys in my pocket, entered the lab and immediately was drawn to the various jars on the shelves to experiment and to create the ideal school. The jars were all neatly arranged and perfectly labelled : French, Mathematics, Curriculum, Grades, Assessments, Competition, Classroom Rules ... There is a large number of them in various sizes and colors.
I understand that my first task will be to classify them into two categories; those that I will need and those that should be eliminated as soon as possible. Some may be useless, even dangerous. For instance, in your kitchen, you would obviously not place a jar of hemlock next to the herbs, nor would you place a bottle of bleach or hydrochloric acid next to the oil or vinegar!
Fortunately, I discovered that my sponsors (not specified in my dream) had thought of placing a receptacle next to the main "drain board" in the lab.
A superb deep receptacle for rubbish, with an imposing diameter and a stainless-steel cylindrical conduit... I opened the round lid, that created a tight seal on the receptacle as in a safe, and immediately threw in the first jar labelled "Transmission of Knowledge (courses)". There is no risk that it will leave the slightest trace on the stainless steel even if some of it were to leak out of the jar on its way down the chute.
The rest of the dream consists of two parts. The first part consists of making a list of the jars to be eliminated and another list of jars that are indispensable and must be kept.
The second part will be to create the recipe that would give birth to the "ideal school".
Now my lab turns into a commercial kitchen of a great restaurant! It's like that in dreams, you know. Nothing surprises us!
Choosing which jars to discard wasn't much of a problem for me. I threw out 6 in total.
After I tossed out the one labeled "Transmission of Knowledge (Course)" I threw out "Programs" followed by "Notes". I then quickly put on protective gloves to handle the most dangerous products and got rid of, "Competition" - Phew! This was followed by throwing out "School Rules, Class Rules... which had a subtitle ... Conflicts and Sanctions". The last one to go down the chute was labeled "Morality” with the subtitle “Judgment".
I was then able to take out and put on the countertop the jars that are indispensable.
These replaced the 6 jars that had been eliminated.
- Methods For Active Learning came to replace Transmission of Knowledge (Course).
- Pedagogical Projects replaces Programs.
- Formative Assessment and Self-Assessment ... forget grades!
- Challenges - with the subtitle - Individual and Collective replaces Competition. Phew!
- School Council / Class Council replaces School Rules / Class Rules
- Philosophy – the practice of it - (essential) effectively supplants Morality.
So, I sat down and looked around at the many materials available: Bunsen burners, infrared lamps, distillation apparatus, all kinds of containers and the multitude of small jars, vials, and tablets. Not that the tablets are uninteresting, but they are difficult to sort and to determine proper dosage ...
So, I said to myself:
Alright, I've eliminated the 6 poisons that were lying around this lab. I have the 6 essential ingredients to create the ideal school... but one day at a time.
Tomorrow, I will start with creating my first "recipe", and test it. Of course, to make “THE BEST RECIPE”, it needs to be seasonal, be at a moment’s whim, and I take into consideration the need to be an excellent cook for the recipe to be successful.
Ideally, you should even be a “great chef” and to become a great chef does not happen overnight. ... moreover, I know that a great chef never stops searching, daring to try new ideas, tasting, improving…
...And I woke up. I laughed a lot thinking of my dream. However, I did not forget the list of the 6 poisons, nor the list of the 6 essential ingredients ... and I am not ready to forget them.