Myths: Can we move forward?

L&S Rules for Students 3photo © 2009 Michael Stout | more info (via: Wylio)I’ll have to give @pcwoessner credit for sending me to Allison Zmuda. I was not familiar with her work, but her latest book is something I wish I’d had in the classroom.

Breaking Free from Myths About Teaching and Learning takes her research from 2008, using her format of essential questions, to make us think about this:

Is fundamental change possible given the myths our culture holds related to schooling?

I like the way she thinks.

In this article (I haven’t gotten my hands on her book yet), Zmuda lists the myths and expounds upon them:

Myth #1: The rules of this classroom and subject area are determined by each teacher.

Myth #2: What the teacher wants me to say is more important than what I want to say.

Myth #3: The point of an assignment is to get it done so that it’s off the to-do list.

Myth #4: If I make a mistake, my job is only to replace it with the right answer.

Myth #5: I feel proud of myself only if I receive a good grade.

Myth #6: Speed is synonymous with intelligence.

Myth #7: If I get too far behind, I will never catch up.

Myth #8: The way I want to be seen by my classmates affects the way I conduct myself as a learner.

Myth #9: What I’m learning in school doesn’t have much to do with my life, but it isn’t supposed to —it’s school.

Please visit her article for the discussion on each point. Her conclusion echoes Carol Dweck’s research,

The discussion of the nine myths above calls attention to those ways of thinking that may be familiar, but still jeopardize the power and joy of learning for teacher and student alike. Change your thinking; change your experience.

She encourages us to look beyond the myths, to “be free to imagine a better way.”

I think it’s a rather  hopeful way to start the year. Don’t you?

3 thoughts on “Myths: Can we move forward?

  1. Hey Susan,
    I met her this fall at our librarians’ conference and was not impressed. Here is how she started her (paid) session: I do not “get” what you do. I am not here to save your jobs.

    Really?!?! Not an advocate for librarians, that’s for sure…

    I left after 15 minutes, hoping it would get better. Wish I could’ve gotten a refund.

  2. No kidding, Janice. That’s disappointing. We know the librarian’s job is changing (just as the teacher’s). Too bad she doesn’t seem to think it’s important enough to include in her discussions of reframing what we do. Now you’ve sent me on a new search:)

  3. Thanks for reading Breaking Free. Based on several years of consulting and deeply researching what we are doing in schools. I am a huge fan of libraries and the work they do with students. My point on the fall presentation was taken out of context – I said that I am not here to save the librarian’s job, I am here to protect the library program because they do 21st century work with students – rigorous, authentic and meaningful. In fact I cite several examples of that in Breaking Free. Happy to continue the dialogue.

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