CHANGEd: What if we teachers had to enroll in our own classes…and at least one more? 60-60-60 #59

I’ve written before about teachers and students swapping roles, and so has my amazing 60-60-60 mirror, @mmhoward. But what if we teachers simply had to enroll in our own classes?

Would we ourselves enjoy the structure we employ, the instructional practice, the methodology, the routines and the repetitions? Do we really think that all of the students in our classes learn just like we did…like we do?

What if we also had to enroll in at least one more class – a class that is completely and utterly different than the one we teach? In that place of uncomfortableness, wouldn’t we learn how to reach more of our students…the ones who don’t think and learn just like we do?

Don’t we owe it to our young learners to put ourselves in our own classes, as well as in at least one more that stretches and perplexes us?

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

[This post was cross-published on Inquire Within on September 14, 2012.]

CHANGEd: What if we really reflected on what former students remember? 60-60-60 #58

For over 15 years, I taught eighth graders the subject of economics. When alums return to school or write to me, do you know what they say they remember? The number one memory is “The Stock Market Game.” Second in the tally – creating resumes and business cards. Not one person has ever told me they remember any definitions, graphs, or theories. They remember what they created and crafted. They remember the parts that felt most “real life.” They remember what seemed most relevant when they finished college and called on applicable skill sets. What if we really reflected on what former students remember? Would we design our courses and classes to provide more of the memorable experiences?

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

CHANGEd: What if school leaders practiced the change they preach…and developed a people strategy? 60-60-60 #57

Thinking about CHANGEd 60-60-60: PEOPLE STRATEGY and re/pre-flecting…

In Pat Bassett’s TEDx St. Georges School talk, he reveals seven big shifts in the larger world that are changing the landscape of education and schooling:

  • Knowing…Doing
  • Teacher-centered…Student-centered
  • The Individual…The Team
  • Consumption of Info…Construction of Meaning
  • Schools…Networks
  • Single Sourcing…Crowd Sourcing
  • High Stakes Testing…High Value Demonstations

If we administrators expect teachers to proactively respond to these big shifts for the futures of their students, mustn’t we do so ourselves?

  • Shouldn’t we be transforming faculty meetings (and other “PD”) into faculty doings? Shouldn’t we be experimenting with PBL with adults…and with projects that are relevant and meaningful to teachers? Are we even asking them what they want and need?
  • From the admin view, how can we make school more “teacher-centered” so that teachers can, in turn, make school more student-centered? Shouldn’t we admin be modeling “student voice and choice” by providing such to our faculties?
  • How are we un-silo-ing our schools to facilitate teachers working in teams?
  • How are we facilitating the construction of meaning among our faculties, instead of asking them to consume information? Do decisions feel top-down or bottom-up? Or inside-out? Or outside-in?
  • How are we admin employing and engaging learning networks and advocating for OPEN and SAFE and THOUGHTFUL use of such endless learning resources in the network…outside our school walls?
  • How are we crowd-sourcing our collective wisdom within our faculties and among our faculties from school to school? How are we refusing to re-invent the wheel and instead partnering with the crowds of other doing schools…I mean networks?
  • How are we refusing the high stakes testing of teachers and engaging high value demonstrations of professional practice?

A people strategy begins with EMPATHY. It moves along the stepping stones of the Golden Rule. A people strategy refuses to commit the fundamental attribution error (see the Heath Bros’ Switch).

Be the change you want to see in others! Show the way; don’t just tell the way. Blur the lines among “admin,” “teacher,” “student.” In fact, any of us should be all three. It’s not about the titles. It’s about learning…together.

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

[This post was cross-published on Connected Principals on September 14, 2012.]

CHANGEd: What if we used reading and Google Earth as spingboards for interdisciplinary, global empathy? 60-60-60 #54

Some believe that technology is separating us, disconnecting us, making us less empathetic. I don’t think it’s about the technology. I believe it’s about the people behind the technology and the ways that we commit to using the technology. I believe technology can actually make us more connected, more together, more empathic. Tools can be used to build up or to tear down…to joyfully create or to tragically damage and destroy. But it depends on the user, not the tool. I am thankful that I have many teachers who are showing me these lessons.

Steve Goldberg is one of my newest teachers. He is teaching me to use Google Earth to read for global empathy. What if more of us used reading and Google Earth as springboards for interdisciplinary, global empathy? Oh what a wonderful world it could be!

Inter-disciplinary reading of the news

Skyping in to Detroit to talk current events

Empathizing with Baba Amr (wherever that is)

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

CHANGEd: What if we “called the electric company” more often with gratitude? 60-60-60 #45

Can you imagine working in an industry that achieves great success yet receives a disproportionate number of calls of complaint? I bet my electricity works 360 out of 365 days of the year. But when do I call the power company? When things aren’t working. I wonder what it’s like to work at the power company? Are we too much a culture of “no news is good news?”

Do we celebrate success enough in schools…in our colleagues…in our students? Do we spread those positive stories enough and amplify the many victories? Do we mark papers and give feedback that is more mistake and “fix this” oriented or more bright spot and “build on this current strength” oriented? What do we highlight on report cards and progress reports? Do we “pick up the phone” enough when things are working?

My lights are shining, my coffee maker is brewing, and my refrigerator is keeping things cold. I think I’ll go make a call.

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

Related Work that I Investigate for Relevance to this Idea: