On my way to work this morning, I was pondering the whole issue of school reform. As a lifelong educator myself, I find it very difficult to imagine redesigning schools because I have so many preconceived ideas about what it looks like and what expectations are currently heaped upon schools. What I believe to be ‘true’ about schools actually gets in my way of imagining what ‘should or could be.’
I decided, rather than trying to picture what schools should look like, I’d spend time pondering what we know about teaching and learning. It seems to me if learning is our desired outcome that learning should be at the center of the design and processes. With that in mind, I’ve outlined 5 things I believe about teaching and learning. I invite you to think about our current processes and system design in light of these and ask yourself if our current practices make sense.
1. Not all kids are ready to learn the same things on the same day. In fact research supports that we have diverse bio-cognitive cycles as well as learning styles.
2. It is more meaningful to teach concepts in context rather than isolated, disconnected pieces of knowledge.
3. There is rarely a single right way to derive a solution.
4. Learning is an active participatory process; It doesn’t happen osmotically.
5. Measuring what matters is not easily assessed using standardized tests.