From my perspective, probably the most important digital divide is not access to a box. It’s the ability to be empowered with the language that that box works in. Otherwise only a very few people can write with this language, and all the rest of us are reduced to being read-only. Elizabeth Daley as quoted by L. Lessig, Free Culture, p. 37
I tweeted this earlier.
I think it connects with what Elizabeth Dailey is quoted as saying in Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture. Consistent empowerment is more important than any literacy lesson we might offer, for alongside empowerment are the beliefs we have about learners, as well as the beliefs about self that learners compose, in part, based on our actions.
It is alongside these beliefs that children's intellectual lives are fueled and sparked or diminished and underfed. This is what rests in adult hands. What we make of it is most telling. We need only be constrained by our own imaginations, dispositions, faith. Not even the CCSS need constrain us (or them).
In Franki Sibberson's (2012) The Joy of Planning, she writes, "The Common Core, or any standards for that matter, give us a goal--what we want our students to be able to do at a certain point in time. What they do not give us are the ways to help our students meet those goals" (p. 13). I see hope in that statement.
If you think of the CCSS as goal statements (impoverished goals in some ways especially as we think about new literacies, but that is another post), then maintaining local jurisdiction with regard to the methods one uses to learn should remain a priority--one that is shared between learner and teacher. In accepting that, we must remain wide open to the fact that we know so little about each learner. In an unstable and ever changing world, our understandings must be seen as yesterday's news (at best) and within that slim and present space, possibilities abound.
That's where we need to reside.
I don't doubt that I will fail to see the bright shine of a learner. I am often dull and fallible. This is why I keep myself wondering when I work alongside children. I know I will underestimate them and so I resist knowing best. It is from a stance of not knowing and wondering that I remain most open to what I failed to see at first (or second...) glance.
The children never fail to teach me, so long as I remain teachable.