I wish I could connect my laptop to my brain as I lie in bed. As soon as I go to write down my thoughts off they go and seldom return resulting in a less vibrant post then envisioned.
We have been having a lot of conversations within AMDSB & beyond about learning, student voice and what schools should look like. This has been facilitated by Will Richardson. He does disturb but if people are open about their thinking wonderful things can happen. Will Richardson is one of many people I consider part of my PLC on twitter and social media.
Getting back to learning, student voice and what school should look like, we need to define learning, teaching and education. What is the difference? Is our education system teaching the students or are they learning. 10 Principles for Schools of Modern Learning
Are schools and education stagnant? How can that be with everything changing all around? Information is all around us and at our fingertips. Well, education is stuck in the past and any change is frowned upon because that is not the way it was done and we are uncomfortable with change. Most of us only remember what we didn’t like about certain classes but do you now embrace the change that could have changed that experience. This is why education change, reform or whatever you want to call it takes so long, usually 20-30 years, or one or two generations of students. It takes the students who were the beginning of the change to become parents or teachers to champion the change.
Student engagement in their learning continually declines throughout time in schools. Only about 30% of secondary students are engaged in their learning. Why is this? There are too many reasons to list. Ask students what they want that would make them engaged and teachers what they need to make their students engaged and many are the same. So as a system we need to start putting conditions is place to allow these changes. The ideas may come from the roots but the change conditions need to be implemented from the top to allow the roots to grow. This article is an interesting read, Making Lessons Fun Does Not Help Children Learn
Look at the discussion around math skills and knowledge these days. Unfortunate too many people have become polarized in their belief with no adaptation to blended delivery. Is rote learning for memorization for speed of recall? Is problem solving absent of formulation? How does a teachers knowledgeable of math play out against their knowledge of how to teach math? The questions go on and on. This statement came across the day “Early math skills are a strong predictor - even more so than reading skills - of later academic achievement and success in the labour market. ( Anne Stokke)". Valid or not?
What needs to be taught, what should be taught in schools? Maybe we can all agree on subject areas but what within those subjects. Curriculum documents are complicated. What is the purpose of that subject and the strands within it? One frequently sees the questions about where are cursive writing and life skills in the curriculum? How or where does cross/integrated subject teaching come into play?
I could make this post long or have gone deeper into the conversation but I will leave it here for now.
This is not a research paper or thesis, just my thoughts as I grow. Learning doesn’t end with the answer but the grows with the next question.