I am a big Chris Lehman fan for a while and finally got around to watching his Tedx Philly talk (I now have the time). In the video he describes what schools could be.
I just happen to agree with his vision. If you have 15 minutes it is well worth watching.
I wish this was future of school for more of our students.
School in my opinion is not to teach students how to work, but teach them how to think and do for themselves and others. How to ask questions, how to find answers and then tell others what they found. School should be about opportunities, not drudgery. Students still need to know how to read, write and do math well, but there is so much more to life than those three subjects. Don’t students have to be good at those as well.
If we continually to punish them by forcing them to do what they suck at, by giving them more and more of what they suck at. Haven’t we been reaping what we sow – bored or angry students who are tired of being told they suck at (you fill in the blank), but are required to do it anyway. Then we wonder why so many of them leave school as soon as they can. School has no meaning to this population of students, except that it is a punishment for them to attend school everyday.
Saying that just because we have done it this way in the past is not good enough anymore. Instead of punishing students for being bored and acting like twits, because they are bored with lesson plans that were appropriate for a previous generation of students, even if they align with the most recent set of academic standards. We need to start looking at what are the student’s strengths we have today, not 5, 10, 20, 50 years ago and teach to those strengths. Yes this is more work for teachers, but it isn’t any more work than teaching to the test and dealing with the negative behaviors of students who don’t want to be there because they are bored.
Am I dreaming of something that can’t occur? With the present mindset of test, test, test, more data, accountability and that kids need more and more structure it won’t occur, it can’t.
These are some of the reasons why so many of us have left education recently. We only see more of the same or worse coming to education and our public schools for the foreseeable future and personally I don’t want to be a part of that future.
I think that the term “Do no harm” needs to be used more often when discussing education.
It is going to take a paradigm shift about what is the future of education in the United State. For this shift to happen it will require teachers, administrators, school boards, politicians to look outside the box that we are stuck in now and show real guts and leadership to change the future of education, because I agree with Mr. Lehman (most of) our public schools are broken.
Mr. Lehman, I think that I would have liked to have been a teacher in your school. You show leadership and an understanding of what school could or should be. Thank you for sharing this vision with the rest of us.