I’ve been following the #MakeSchoolDifferent meme with some interest. There have been some very interesting observations made by people coming from all directions. The last I read was Miguel Guhlin’s “Stop the Pretending to #makeschooldifferent“. They’re all good reads; you’d be wise to read as much as you can and think about the messages and the message behind the message.
Brandon Grasley tagged me in a recent post on his blog so here are my thoughts.
We have to stop pretending:
- that everything is broken;
- You can’t go a day without reading about something dysfunctional in education and there’s certainly lots to be fixed. However, the counter to that is that there are a lot of amazing things that happen day in and day out. Why aren’t they celebrated equally as well? Take a good look at your school and/or classroom website. There should be something amazing updated everyday – don’t just wait until graduation or student of the month assemblies.
- that one shot professional learning makes a difference;
- We expect that students learn something every day. Why should every other element of the school system not have the same expection? Is your professional learning department offering opportunities regularly? If not, why not ask why? Teachers are professionals and should be treated that way. A lot of concepts can be addressed in a single sitting but a continuous stream of learning enhances the profession.
- that the latest theory or idea heard by a director/superintendent means drop everything and do this;
- How many times have you heard the edict – “This year, we’re going to do everything based on the XYZ model”? Then, next year, we’ll change it up a bit and follow this theory. I remember my first year of teaching, the best advice I got before my first PD Day – “This too will pass”. Learning is a complicated activity and we should be informed by all theories, past and present, to evolve into the best we can be. My wife, the nurse, quipped when we discussed this “Could you imagine going to a hospital that was only focusing on treating this disease and ignoring all others?
- that libraries don’t matter;
- Outside of technical shops, what area of the school receives the most floor space and resources in terms of books, journals, computers, digital media, etc. and potentially reaches into every classroom, every student’s educational life, every teacher’s professional life? A school library should be staffed by the best teacher-librarian you can lay your hands on and staff/students will reap the benefits of all they have to offer.
- that technology use in the classroom is only incremental.
- computer and other technologies have truly been an assist to us all. I don’t care what platform – a good teacher can exploit the use of an iPad, a Windows computer, a phone, and now even a watch. A classroom can also serve as a detriment when the technology isn’t embraced and students are left to fend for themselves.
I could go on and on but I’m not a rule breaker like Brandon!