Below are my notes (with personal annotations) from his presentation.
What are our beliefs as educators?
Photomatt28 via Compfight cc
We have beliefs around what classrooms should look like and what should happen in schools. Parents have beliefs around what they expect for their children. There is a shared experience of what school is, and the ‘one size fits all’ approach is essentially the universal past experience for adults.
These beliefs have a stronghold on our vision for schools.
We KNOW that the current approach and structure are not adequate. But shifting our beliefs to align with what we know is very challenging and tough work. Changing the ‘rules of the game’ is most threatening to those currently winning at the game (just try to remove competition from classrooms and awards ceremonies for ‘top students’).
If we are going to shift, we need to support teachers. They need to learn to use technology meaningfully to engage students and enhance instruction. They need training in 21C skills, or should we call them 22C skills now that we are almost 15 years into the 21C? There can be no easy outs. We have to do the work and stop making excuses.
Teachers need to deeply know their students. They need to understand their passions, strengths, and especially their needs. Teachers need an inquiry stance that asks what they can learn from their students. It takes a genuine process of integrating student voice into school planning. How will we authentically know, engage, serve and learn from students? What has to change to really do this?Kerri Lee Smith via Compfight cc
A student-centered approach to teaching and learning is only possible where the culture of the entire system is supportive. What does this look like? Focusing at the student level means that classroom decisions are key, learning must be personalized, and teachers need exist in an environment that allows them to do the work. Classroom work must “bubble-up” and inform work at the system level to support teachers in determining and responding to the greatest needs of their students.
If we want a culture at all levels that encourages continuous improvement (and we really need to think about that because it means constant change), then the culture needs to promote and embrace risk-taking. Educators are a vulnerable group because they have been seen traditionally as those with the knowledge. Teachers need to understand that they don’t have to (and can’t) know everything. They need to feel safe learning how we expect students to learn, taking risks, receiving feedback, and growing within that supportive structure.
Does your system work like this?
Teachers care. They are maxed out on dedication and time they put into their profession.
We need to work differently, to think differently about the type of instruction, the learning conditions, and support teachers in the learning process.
“The only way to provide what our students need, is to collaborate together to learn from one another, to take risks, ask questions, experiment and respond to what our students are saying, creating and doing. Support each other to be brilliant.”