Title: Learn Like a Pirate: Empower Your Students to Collaborate, Lead, and Succeed
Author: Paul Solarz
Unfortunately, teachers of my generation weren't taught to approach education this way and music in general has been a top-down world for centuries. So, I need to figure out how to do a lot of this on my own. Fortunately, this is a hopping trend in current education and there's a lot more how-to material than there used to be. In working out the specifics for my research project, three different people recommended Learn Like a Pirate, so obviously I needed to check it out.
I have found my bible. Solarz's classroom, as he describes it, is exactly what I envision for my own. Students, with thoughtful early guidance, run the show. They guide each other through the daily rituals, choose and design their own projects, they hold each other accountable, they ask each other questions before turning to the teacher, etc. The book includes testimony from Solarz's own students and their parents so as not to make it seem he is painting a non-existent ideal. He speaks from successful experience.
Now I need to figure out how to use it all. Solarz provides a lot and it's overwhelming to take in all at once but I am eager to implement as much as I can. My job at school is really two jobs with differing demands: chorus director and general music teacher. There are aspects of the student-led class that will be easier to implement for each. Probably best to sort out what those are and start there. As Solarz points out, though, what you believe about your students and their capacities is just as important as the specific activities you plan for them. It all begins with building the supportive atmosphere.
So, if you are a teacher and looking for some fresh ideas, I think you'd get a lot out of Learn Like a Pirate.