Amidst all this talk of feminism and empowering girls lately, it should be noted that I did point out that I also try to empower my boys as well. Despite all appearances to the contrary, this world spends more time forcing conformity than promoting individuality. In the case of education, this more often amounts to little more than having to do everything a specific way, even if the currently taught way doesn’t make sense to the student. In our quest to validate the cost and existence of creating standardized assessments, we’ve almost robbed students of the opportunity to explore topics and find their own way to correctly arrive at an answer, create a project, prove they know the information.
I spend a lot of my tutoring time trying to encourage my students to trust themselves, to become familiar enough with the material to be able to arrive at the right response their own way.
This article, found via the Carnival of Capitalists, has some great suggestions for making yourself a more independent thinker [dead link], and a lot of it is the advice I give my students. Ask questions. Challenge the status quo. Follow your gut. Speak boldly. By practicing independent thinking, you help declutter processes, clarify policies and projects, and generally earn yourself a reputation as a troublemaker!
It occurs to me that because I do these things without a second thought, that’s probably part of why I come across as a feminist, too. Well, you better fear me, because I’m teaching every kid I meet to do just the same thing! Ah, the influence!!!
(insert evil laugh here)