May 10, 2010

I'm an educator ... that's what I do ...

While I don't know if any of my former readers are still reading along, I'm going to change things up today and write about education. 

Copyright © ChernobylBob via Flickr

A few things I see as important, in no particular order:

(1) Early childhood education. We have many children who arrive at school not quite ready for learning. Things to consider in this process would be a young fives, or developmental kindergarten option, all day, every day kindergarten, and interventions for those students who struggle from the beginning. This is an area that seems to crop up in federal and state politics, so we'll see if funding continues to come forth for this important part of education.

(2) The Phoenix High School. Face it, sooner or later, someone will figure out a way to offer education in a virtual world. Realistically, a student could be learning in a virtual world and never have to set foot in a high school. This entity will become reality down the road — especially when kids start demanding it. As customer conscious, schools will have to react. It may already be out there. But, if it isn't, it will be arriving soon. (Phoenix High School, of course, is based on The University of Phoenix virtual college).

(3) A focus on kids. Sure, many schools offer that they put "kids first." But, in the new world of education, schools will have to follow this motto or students (choice!) will choose to go elsewhere. The tide has shifted and benefits the customer. The focus must be on STUDENT learning and be able to draw a correlation clearly between the student herself, instruction, and the task at hand (not to mention the assessment of learning — not necessarily a TEST). We don't need kids to be "knowers" anymore, we need them to be "learners." Teachers should teach kids where to find information that is pertinent. The days of memorization may be long gone.

(4) Learning. Another no brainer, right? We've been in an ear of data analysis and disaggregation since the mid–90s. I would be there are fewer than 20 people who have a grasp of how to make data make sense. And thousands upon thousands who would scream, "WHAT data do you really want me to use?" Because for years, principals have been collecting way to much data that has little to do with student achievement patterns. True. Here's a ponderable: "Let's pretent that we get money (in Michigan) based not on the number of students we have in our school, but instead on a measurable example of what students have learned." How would you show what your students learned? We're in the learning business — so why isn't there a simple system to show that a student learned a year's worth of "stuff" in a year's time?

(5) Fun. School will become fun again because there are enough people who want to see the curiosity of a kindergarten student carried though to high school. The era of burning out kids ... is gone. If we want kids to become lifelong learners — and most people want life to be fun — then we have to put the fun (curiosity, play) back into education. Honest.

1 comment:

Brad said...

great stuff today rickster.....putting kids first is absolutely the most important thing. it is to bad that so so so many administrators talk it...but dont walk it...i know the economy is tough, but all schools need to start making the right decisions for kids, not the right decisions for the pocket book....things are changing at CM. Changing for the better...Great great leadership change that you were a part of...hoping we continue it...way way way better than when i first hired in way better...keep on keepin on...yankees with a sweep...