While standing in line at PetSmart today, I noticed a recurring phenomenon. Dogs were everywhere, walking with their owners, and tugging at their leashes in a concerted effort to go an entirely different direction than intended. For the most part, each dog owner seemed unaware of the Slanted Dog Walk unfolding all over the store.
Hey, Hey, Hey
Each dog I saw, throughout the store, had a burning desire to go one way while being firmly tugged in the opposite direction. The result? The Slanted Dog Walk. Huh. Unfortunately, all too often we see the same affect on our students. The leashes may be invisible, but they are there. As John Spencer and AJ Juliani point out in chapter 7 of Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning, all children are natural makers. The problem we face is how to unleash this creativity in a system where we lack time, resources, and are on our own rigid leash of curriculum and high-stake tests.
Every Dog Has His Day
They are correct. It is imperative that we take off the leashes, our own and those we place on our students, so that students can walk upright toward whatever draws them, and so that we can walk upright among them. Sure, stay in the yard, but no more Slanted Dog Walk. No more oblivious or uncaring leash holders dragging students away from their desires. Let’s do this.