Why School? – the conclusion

I finished Why School? this weekend. Hopefully some of you are there with me! If not, don’t worry. You can check out some thoughts below:

In Part II, Richardson offers some solutions to the problems of the old school model. To move toward “new school,” Richardson suggests that educators do the following:

1) Share everything: start a blog, open up your classroom, post videos, in short make it possible for others to learn from you

2) Discover, don’t deliver, the curriculum: engage in big, complex, difficult questions and co-plan inquiry alongside your students

3) Talk to strangers: bring experts into the classroom and help students find experts themselves

4) Be a master learner: model the process by which you learn, think aloud through your own problems, make your learning moves explicit every step of the way (you no longer need to be the expert, you need to be the master learner)

5) Do real work for real audiences: make learning matter beyond school by creating tasks with real world value

6) Transfer the power: release control of learning to the kids

What a great, concise list of shifts we can all make to bring our practice into closer alignment with the demands of the 21st century!

In the spirit of modeling my own learning, here are a few thoughts from my “double entry journal,” so to speak (aka my Kindle notes). : )

“I believe there remains a great deal of value in the idea of school as a place where our kids go to learn with others, to be inspired by caring adults to pursue mastery and expertise, and then to use that to change the world for the better”

Ahh. I think this is Richardson’s answer to “Why school?” Although knowledge is abundant, and the connectivity of the internet allows any of us to learn pretty much anything through our computer screens, there is something important about the community of school.

 

“the new opportunities for learning require us to articulate a fundamental revision of the value of school and the roles of teachers and classrooms”

 

But we need a completely new view of teachers, classrooms, and the value school brings.

“in the near term, schools need to do both: to prepare kids for old-school expectations and new world realities alike”

 

So, while we’re in between paradigms we have two masters to serve. How do we speed the transition away from old-school expectations (testing, etc.)?

 

“knowledge is moving from the individual to the individual and his contacts”

How do we assess students’ ability to cultivate and then tap into networks of informed others?

 

“open-network tests that measure not just if kids answer a question well, but how literate they are at discerning good information from bad”

Here’s a starting point for answering my previous question. Design open-network assessments and create a rubric to measure students’ ability to deal with the abundance of information available to them

“institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution”

 

Wow! So true. No wonder change is so difficult.

“As a parent, I’d articulate the shift to teachers like this: Don’t teach my child science; instead, teach my child how to learn science”

 

Great, concise explanation of one key shift!

 

 

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Categories: Book Club

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