Yesterday I took a professional development day and spent the entire day with Michael Wesch and Jim Groom in a series of conferences & talks on education.
Dr. Wesch is the current Kansas State University Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars and was the lead organizer of the event, featuring keynote speaker Jim Groom. (I’ll have more to say about Jim’s talk in a later post.)
Wesch introduced us to the concept of “Ed Parkour” in his typical poetic form, with this video playing, and the following narration:
The definition of parkour, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:
par·kour: the sport of traversing environmental obstacles by running, climbing, or leaping rapidly and efficiently
With all of the obstacles in today’s world of education, the metaphor of education parkour is an apt one. The practitioners of parkour are known as “traceurs,” so if we keep with our metaphor, those educators who efficiently traverse obstacles to teaching and learning could be thought of traceurs as well. We all know education traceurs, if we think about it. Whatever the new mandate or initiative, these people know how to roll with it, jump over it or incorporate it into what they do without even flinching. No Child Left Behind; no problem. State assessments; state of mind. These educators don’t let the weight of bureaucracy stop them from their mission of teaching.
I would like to think of myself as something of an ed traceur, but one who frequently stumbles and only occasionally pulls off something amazing. But I keep plugging away at it, and am glad I had the chance to hang out with some other traceurs as well.
If I had to pick one education traceur to hold up as an example, I’d pick Mr. Paul Bogush. He’s a teacher who inspires, and who doesn’t let the obstacles prevent him from reaching his teaching goals. He gets his students to do the impossible and then he tells the rest of us how he did it. He makes it look easy, but I know he takes his share of bumps and bruises along the way as well.
What about you? Are you an education traceur? Do you see the obstacles, but incorporate them into your environment, using them as a springboard to action? If not, do you know anyone who is and do you try to emulate them? Wouldn’t it be fun to see this concept of Ed Parkour take off? We are tweeting about it under the hashtag #edparkour. We are building a website at http://edparkour.com where we discuss how to utilize existing tools as well as leap over or bounce off of any obstacles in our path. The world is our playground. Come play with us. We are Ed Parkour!