A follow up to the discussion I participated in last week – “Elevating the Education Reform Dialog”
What a great discussion with many great speakers. Guest speakers included: Alfie Kohn, Diane Ravitch, Deborah Meier, Chris Lehmann, Gary Stager, Will Richardson, Julie Evans, and Sir Ken Robinson.
Although each speaker took a slightly different angle at the Education Reform and all had valuable information to share, near the end of the presentation I was struck by several messages that repeated themselves throughout each speaker.
RESPECT:The idea of respecting educators, and educators respecting each other. Julie Evans reminded the group that “one size fits all” teacher’s don’t fit. Diane Ravitch suggested that there is a significant lack of “the Educator’s voice” in the Teacher Reform because teachers aren’t safe to speak up. If there was more respect for teachers, would they feel comfortable voicing their concerns? Chris Lehmann brought forward such a key point in this matter – “Anti-teacher movements will never build better schools”.
TRUST: Deborah Meier brought forward an important message about Trust. Trust in our school communities – trust between teachers, students, parents and administrators – and taking the time to build that trust.
Education for Students:What is the focus of education? What is the goal of school? To empower students. I thought this was very powerful. Often in schools the idea of “what is best for children” is over powered by “what is instilled by the curriculum”. Chris Lehmann made such a powerful and important statement, that as teachers we must understand the difference between “I teach English” and “I teach children English” – this statement will forever be at the forefront of my teaching career – remembering that as teachers we are not simply teaching a subject, but we are teaching children. As teachers we have the opportunity to inspire students and show them their potential! To guide them towards a future which they can be passionate about. Remembering that school is for students should always come first!
Education as Personalized: The discussion of education being personalized was a very important point in the conversation for me. Sir Ken Robinson points out that as educators we need to promote diversity and not uniformity. Students who dropped out of school are brought back into the system via a personalized curriculum BUT, as Sir Ken Robinson insists, if the system had been personalized to begin with some of these students would never have dropped out to begin with! This is such an important part of being a teacher! Understanding students’ learning styles! Students will struggles until teachers understand and attempt to appeal to each child’s learning style.
Included are just a couple of the websites I picked up and a blog I really enjoyed and related to discussions we’ve been having in my pre-service Assessment & Evaluation Class.