Reinventing the Wheel

Reinvent the wheel.

This phrase is often used in education in a totally negative connotation. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here,” but I’m actually a huge fan of this process. When I was new to teaching, my colleauges used to give me old tests, worksheets, manila file folders of entire planned units , but I didn’t use it (and I still wouldn’t though people have long stopped lending).

Educationally speaking, I want to drive a porche, but the wheels I’ve been given are carriage wheels. We cannot be content as educators to take the wheels we’ve been given in the past. We need to be able to perfect the wheels we need for the types of learning we are driving in our classroom.

The only people who drive carriages today are those who by choice want to harken back to a previous time (cue the Amish and those who take romantic carriage rides in Central Park). Everybody else’s “horsepower” lies in a V6 engine. So why are we sending children through a horse-and-carriage-based educational system when they must then drive a tractor trailer or a mini van over six lane highways in a modern world?  We need to reinvent the educational wheel (and perhaps even the vehicle we drive), and we need to do it now.

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