Thursday, November 15, 2012

Does the knuckleball give perspective to 21st century learning

RA Dickey of the New York Mets won the National League Cy Young Award yesterday. The award yearly recognizes the best pitcher in baseball.

Dickey winning the award is a triumph for the knuckleball. For you see never before has a pitcher who relies extensively on the knuckleball as his primary pitch won the Cy Young Award.

Dickey acknowledged this in his comments after winning the award. He said,

We live in a culture now that's got a very progressive mentality, which is fantastic as far as the association of the knuckleball goes. And that's a compliment to the vision and the imagination of the writers who voted. They didn't see the knuckleball as a trick pitch. They didn't see it as some kind of illegitimate weapon that you can use that isn't worthy. They saw it as a legitimate weapon. 

So how does Dickey winning the Cy Young Award influence my perception of education?

Perhaps, and this is just a hunch on my part, we are turning a corner. Perhaps, we are beginning to see that it is the outcome that is most important and not the means.

The outcome in education is student achievement. Learning! We should use any means available to us to help students learn.

In the past we have viewed learning as "legitimate" only if it was teacher directed. But that is not how students learn anymore.

Students are more independent. Student have access to information through the internet that they did not have access to before. Students create learning communities through Facebook Twitter, and other social media sites where they control learning.

Now we cannot say that the only legitimate learning that occurs is in the classroom between the hours of 8:00 and 4:00.

Learning occurs throughout the day, throughout the night, throughout the year.

The definition of legitimate learning has to expand. Students have access to too much information.

The question is do we as teachers realize and accept this?

The baseball writers accept that the knuckleball is now a "legitimate" pitch.

Can we as educators accept that student learning is different now than it has been in the past? And if we can accept that, how does it change how we do business? 

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