An integrated, PBL course idea – Past, Present, and Future of USA Schooling

I wonder…

Why don’t we devote more time and attention in school to studying schools? What if there were a course akin to “Past, Present, and Future of USA Schooling?” Could mixed-aged classrooms take on various design challenges for improving schools? Could such design challenges lead to learners studying the present state of schools in the U.S.? Could such a course create a “need to know” about the history of schooling in the U.S.? Could such a course integrate lessons that would typically be relegated and segregated to English, math, language, science, and history?

What might happen to the rate and effectiveness of school change-and-growth if we approached the issue in such a way?

Like ripples in a pond, students could better understand the WHYS and HOWS and WHATS of one’s own school. How does a school decide on curriculum? How does a school educate its own faculty? How does a school business office work? What are the issues that my school faces in terms of sustainability and campus planning?

Then, the next ripple in the pond may be to understand the school landscape in one’s own city and/or state. Schools from various states could collaborate on building a collective understanding of schooling in the U.S. How did charters develop? Why has homeschooling grown so much in the last decade? Imagine the collective database, resources, and growing understanding. Imagine guiding students to employing such scientific methods to the understanding of one’s own school, as well as to schools in more general terms.

From such a foundation, what might the next generation of school leaders achieve?!

4 thoughts on “An integrated, PBL course idea – Past, Present, and Future of USA Schooling

  1. The purpose of PBL is simply to encourage student development of critical thinking skills, a high professional competency, problem-solving abilities, knowledge acquisition, the ability to work productively as a team member and make decisions in unfamiliar situations, and the acquisition of skills that support self-directed life-long learning, self-evaluation, and adaptation to change.

  2. Pingback: A Response to “PBL course idea – Past, Present, and Future of USA Schooling” « Center for Teaching

  3. In the world of “studying schools,” we leave too much of this work to higher education, consultants, politicians, or big business. They tend to dictate from on high. It would serve our school communities well if we (teachers and students), we more engaged in shaping our own future. If we exercised more control over our destiny through studying ourselves in school (as you suggest), we might come up with very creative solutions to the issues in the school reform movement.

    The reality is that money controls the influence OR maybe its the people with influence control the money. For some strange reason its all tied up in money: endowments, big givers, foundations, Race to the Top, NCLB, College Board, and so on.

    More local involvement (students and teachers) would stand a better chance of not being corrupted by the large amounts of dollars that flow into education and technology in education.

    How to get this started? As David Whyte the poet says, Start Close In.


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