Reflections on Day Two
The day began with an outstanding keynote presentation from Chris Lehmann. (see my descriptive post from this morning). In this post, I reflected on a few of his points. The text written in black italics represent my summary of Chris’s discussion. The text in black bold are my reflective thoughts. I would love to hear from others.
My Bias: - Education = Democracy - School Stinks - Try shadowing a kid through the entire day of school. try it in high school. it is only the energy of a youth that allows them to survive. Could we survive 7 direct report bosses every day? Especially when all those direct bosses do not use same language, assessment, etc.
This concept really resonated with my thinking. I find our school to be a collection of great educators, but do we or they do anything to tie the common themes together for our students? This issue spans from philosophy to pedagogy to technical aspects of our classroom like the learning management system. Something I have been pursuing is having one Learning Management System that every class in grades 6-12 uses. This will streamline so much of what we do and it will make the process more usable for the students.
We tell kids to do what they are told, over and over again. Even if we don’t know if they will every need to know it again. Look at math state test, it assesses things that we as adults never look at. The kids who asks, “why do we need to know this?” Most teachers get offended by this. But he argues that is the first question a student should have the right to ask. We usually respond, “it will help you one day, it will be on the test, you will need it one say, looks good on college resume, it is a required class.” Some times there are good answers to give the kids, but we do not. Why do I need to know physics? Because that explains the world. but we do not say that, we say the other things.
This is an issue we have been discussing for a while, but are we getting better at it? Are Jewish Day schools creating meaningful and effective rubrics to measure student learning? This is an issue a lot of teachers struggle with as it forces them to totally revamp the way they evaluate their students.
What will you unlearn?
Example -HTML – in the 90′s everyone had to learn html. That notion became obsolete, the minute Microsoft came out with update that had “Save as Webpage.” But people for 2 years probably kept teaching kids html. So what are we willing to unlearn?
Great point! Are we flexible enough to spend time learning and implementing strategies that ultimately we may have to undo?
Technology like oxygen. ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible. - Technology has to be everywhere, part of everything we do, then stop talking about it. it is the tool, not the project itself. Project is to create powerful project, but they can choose, powerpoint, prezi, video, blog, newspaper.
Do we look at our schools this way? This is a point that may be challenging to impress upon some of our more “marinated” teachers.
Problematize everything – what is the worst consequence of your best idea? - If you give laptops to kids they will do inappropriate things with them. Don’t not give because of that, but plan what you will do to educate in those scenarios.
I thought this was a great outlook on the modern orthodox hashkafa of embracing technology for all its positives, while understanding how to mitigate the challenges.