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Friday, March 03, 2006

Badass Teachers, Open Source Education, and the End of Urban Eduation as We Know It

It is my hope that the new world of small schools and asymmetrical, open source education will be a boon to the badass teacher. These are the teachers who evaluate learning strategies by asking a simple question, “How will this help the students kick ass?”

Badass teachers are disruptive. They are not one size fits all, team players, and as such, are feared by educationalists and careerists alike. Badass teachers embody a killer combination of action, knowledge, and power. They believe that students need to be taught the tools to kick academic ass, and to do this they spread power/knowledge like a virus. It is no surprise that badass teachers use tech to increase the spread of this virus. They confer with students during virtual office hours using instant messaging, and post their latest innovation online for feedback. They are the architects of open source, asymmetrical education, and in the end they are the only hope for urban education.

Badass teachers produce badass students that are informed, articulate, and inquisitive. Let’s face it lots of teachers talk about empowerment and valuing student “voice”; however, many complain when they have a truly informed “voice” in their class. That is because badass students are fierce self-advocates that realize that quietest inherit the least. Good for them, chance are they have a badass teacher to thank.

In urban school systems that reward “playing it close to the vest”, badass teachers are all about transparency. They employ blogs as a means to analyze, critique, and expose schools and policies that embrace paper pushers, pikers, and politicians. Needless to say, these folks are detested by administrators because they are a threat to the existence of the system.

Badass teachers will flourish in small schools that value creative abrasion while maintaining a duel focus on process and practice. Clearly these pioneers of open source, asymmetrical education are the best hope we have for creating passionate, informed, articulate students.

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