Saturday, November 21, 2015

Not Your Father's Classroom

"The illiterate of the 21st Century
will not be those who cannot read and write,
but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
- Alvin Toffler

One of my favorite subjects has always been history.  I'm often fascinated by events, movements, and the courage of a select few.  As I've learned history, I've discovered that some people and events endured a tremendous amount of adversity while they moved our world forward.  

Our current educational system has been in place for over 100 years.  This system did not envision education for everyone.  I believe we are now in the early stages of an educational revolution.

Revolutions over time have taken two steps forward and one step back.  Education has done the same thing.  Let's take a look at the course of events since 1999.

  • 1999 School shooting at Columbine High School
  • 1999 Interactive Whiteboards introduced
  • 2001 No Child Left Behind 
  • 2005 YouTube created
  • 2006 Research released on Learning Spaces 
  • 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 
  • 2009 2/3 of all schools significantly increase standards on educator evaluations
  • 2010 First EdCamp takes place in Philadelphia
  • 2010 iPads introduced 
  • 2010 Highly Qualified Teacher Status developed
  • 2010 Race To The Top 
  • 2011 Common Core Standards created
  • 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre
  • 2012 Standard Based Grading created
  • 2015 Obama Administration denounces Standardized Testing obsession

The Industrial Revolution lasted multiple decades.  I firmly believe we are experiencing the beginning of dramatic change in education.  I often hear people outside of education talk as though they are experts about what happens in schools.  This deeply frustrates me.  The fact is, this is not your father's classroom.  School has changed: 

  1. We now know that hours of homework is stone age practice.  
  2. We now know the practice of teach, assign, collect, grade, and move on, is not best.  The role of teachers is to help students grow and aim for mastery. 
  3. We now understand increased safety procedures are for the good of everyone in the school.
  4. We now understand that technology can enhance learning and should not be stifled.
  5. We now understand that teaching is not a one-size fits all approach.
I remember reading about revolutions.  I remember each one was met with resistance. Sometimes the resistance came in many forms.  For example, can we all agree that the industrial revolution was a good thing?  I think so.  This dramatically changed our world.  Yet some people that lived during this time were called Luddites.  These individuals fought change, destroyed equipment, and derailed innovation.  

Think of all that has changed.  We've experienced increased security.  This is a good thing and our new norm.  We are experience the technology movement.  It's hard to imagine teaching without technology.  We are experiencing a philosophical change in the way we teach.  It seems obvious that we should have been focused on mastery all along...not just covering the material.

So I challenge you.

First, what side of the educational revolution are you on?  Are you for progress?  Or, do you simply want things to stay the same?

Second, it is critical that you expect setbacks.  Naysayers are not going away, but we don't have to let them beat us down.  "Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for."

Third, how can you help the educational revolution?  It depends on you.  Do you teach the way you were taught? Have you re-imagined learning in your classroom?  Are you willing to try new things? 

One hundred years from now I hope my great-grandchildren can look back at this educational revolution fondly.  I hope education continues to evolve and that their classrooms are beyond our wildest dreams!


Monday, November 23rd:  Happy Birthday Suzanne Gibbs
Monday, November 23rd:  Warner Elementary welcomes Todd Nesloney!
Monday, November 23rd:  No After-School Clubs
Tuesday, November 24th:  Last Day before Thanksgiving Break
Tuesday, November 24th:  No After-School Clubs
Tuesday, November 24th:  Video Conference Meeting
Wednesday, November 25th:  No School
Thursday, November 26th:  Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 27th:  No School

Articles Worth Reading:

The Change Revolution @E_Sheninger

What's Best for the Best, Is Best for the Rest @Jeff_Zoul

Google has discovered the 5 Key traits employees need to succeed by Emily Peck

Tweetable Moments @curriculumblog

When a Child's Project Shows a Parental Hand At Work @nytimes

The Power of Audience @SpencerIdeas

Presence @JonHarper70bd

10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Ellen's 2,000th Show! (3 min)

@jimmyfallon and his #ThankYouNotes (5 min)

On the Road with Steve Hartman...AMAZING STORY! (2 min)

@E60 Silent Night Lights...inspiring, motivating, touching! (14 min)

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