Monday, November 28, 2011

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week...November 28, 2011

Here are the most thought-provoking articles and blog posts that I came across in the last week.  It looks like I was into lists this week.


Things that AREN'T on the bubble tests - Dangerously Irrelevant

I love any post that reiterates the need for our educational system to veer off its misguided focus on standardized testing.  Here is the list of qualities that are mentioned in the post:

  • creativity
  • critical thinking
  • resilience
  • motivation
  • persistence
  • curiosity
  • endurance
  • reliability
  • enthusiasm
  • empathy
  • self-awareness
  • self-discipline
  • leadership
  • civic-mindedness
  • courage
  • compassion
  • resourcefulness
  • sense of beauty
  • sense of wonder
  • honesty
  • integrity

As an educator and a parent, I am sure that I want to my students to exhibit all of the qualities mentioned.  The questions at the end of the list are ones that we need to all ask ourselves...

Anyone want to argue that students who possess these will be less successful in life than those that don't?
Anyone want to argue that these are less important than regurgitating decontextualized fact nuggets on a standardized assessment?
Anyone want to argue that schools shouldn't be teaching these?
Anyone want to argue that these are not being crowded out in favor of increased emphases on fact nugget regurgitation?
No? No? No? No? Then why, again, are we doing what we're doing?
Top 10 Sings Your School Is Caught In A Time Warp: List for School Leaders - J. Robinson (21st Century Principal)

This post from October came across my Twitter feed this week and it made me stop and look to see how I/we stacked up to Principal Robinson's take on what schools should be focusing on in the year 2011. Check it out for yourself and see how we stack up:
1.  Your school policies work harder to keep web content out rather than bring web content in the school.
2.  Your school technology policies force students to "power down" their personal devices when they enter the front doors.
3. Your textbook budget exceeds your technology budget.
4. Social media rules condemn it as the downfall of public education.
5. Your web site hasn't been changed in three years.
6.  Overhead projectors still sit prominently at the front of your classrooms.
7. The idea of an interactive board is a bulletin board with push pin figures attached.
8. There's a card catalog file sitting in your media center.
9. Your school still spends and budget's money for journals and magazines.
10. You spend a portion of your day dealing with confiscated cell phones.
The Best Articles & Posts on Education Policy in 2011 - Larry Ferlazzo

This is a great reading list for anyone interested in education reform. I encourage you to check out the entire list which includes:

The beatings will continue until teacher morale improves - By Walt Gardner in The Christian Science Monitor

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