Without Sense of Hierarchy

“You realize how there’s no ceiling and how everyone is going to be able to contribute to everybody else’s learning no matter where they came from, when they got here or where they were at.”

In this short (1:35) video reflection, Angela Jochum, an ICT Integration Coordinator at the Frankfurt International School, shares her experience at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2014. The phrase that stays with me is when she talks about on there being “no sense of hierarchy.”

Join us this July 11-15 at Constructing Modern Knowledge!
Her reflection illustrates the absence of a hierarchy that is prevalent in many educational settings. A hierarchy constructed of perceived, and often intentional, divisive levels between the “smart” kids and “dumb” kids. Unfortunately this is plays out in classrooms (and teacher lounges) around the world where kids are ranked and sorted by grades and test scores. Angela’s is describing how CMK is wholly a different experience.

At CMK, people from various educational institutions (i.e. – schools, museums, etc.) come together for four days to do projects they’ve never done before. CMK participants often feel a bit uncomfortable the first day. Angela experienced the notion of learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. From what I recall, her self-selected project group also consisted of a kindergarten teacher and a AP physics teacher all learning together to do things each of them had never done before.

CMK attendees experience something that is not like a most conferences where attendees shuffle from hall A to hall B listening to one-direction presentations. They hear wacky and whimsical ideas that seem to have no place in serious professional learning. They wander the plethora of learning kits, google what an Arduino does, peruse volumes of books, and wonder what the point of it all is. Oh! They listen, chat and dine with stellar educational heroes too!

Everyone learns at CMK. Largely, it is about experiencing what it is to be a learner again. Learning from and with others.  In doing so, we can begin to empathize with our children, our students and fellow teachers in the modern landscape of learning.

2 thoughts on “Without Sense of Hierarchy”

  1. Thanks for this and yes it is so true. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I still think about that first year at CMK and spending time at the MIT Museum, Marvin Minsky, et al. A good time for sure. Hope you are well my friend.

    1. My colleagues will likely say that I’m like a broken record when I mention being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I just can’t shake the notion. I believe that’s a really good thing. As a CMK alum, you know it well. Being near the likes of Marvin Minsky one can’t help but be in a bit of a state of awe. Marvin had a knack for making you feel at home. The only time he would make you feel silly was when you realized yourself that you were uncomfortable and shouldn’t have been.

      The Smith’s are well. Life is moving pretty fast. Time to revive this site. New teaching adventures ahead for me… stay tuned.

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