In yesterday’s Inquirer, a reporter visited Thomas Gaffey’s classrom at the Microsoft High School for the Future. I don’t know Mr. Gaffey and I don’t know much more about this school than what I see in the paper.
Here’s the thing that struck me though: Mr. Gaffey is clearly teaching an awesome class, one that asks real world problems, one where all the kids are engaged. You can tell a good class regardless of subject matter if you want to be there (I’d go tomorrow). A well-run third grade class ought to offer the same level of engagement as a grad seminar: if it’s an honest intellectual challenge and the students have a way into the problem, the room comes alive.
His model, his methods — very much what we’re after at the Workshop. Where we’re different: his class is an elective. We want our teachers to have the time and space to build a class entirely around this approach.