A truly inspiring presentation by Chris Lehmann, Principal of the Science Leadership Academy. It was inspiring, insightful and had many trans formative concepts. Although reading a summary of the talk doesn’t do it justice, I did take good notes.
Keynote speaker: Chris Lehman
Science Leadership Academy
What is the best we can be?
Why this matters?
How many of our schools are “just fine?”
In U.S. Teachers are profoundly uneasy? They are under attack. They are asked to do more and more with less. They know there is a problem, but no solution.
For some reason, today the dialog has teachers on the wrong side.
Parents send us their most precious possession every day, we have to be worthy of that gift.
Old ideas and new tools – John Dewy – read his ideas. His ideas are just as applicable today. We now have the tools to match Dewy’s dreams.
Andrew Jenks – movie producer with phone an macbook – our kids have the tools.
More Bias: Citizenry, Not workforce – it is not enough to educate the mind, but you must educate the soul. Don’t make our kids just workers, but fully engaged and empowered citizens.
One Last Bias: Education = Democracy
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.
In most schools, kids who do the best are not necessarily the most inquisitive, but they are the best designed for schooling – they have the stamina to compete. It is like a factory. What did they learn? Most of them end up with negative feelings towards school.
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.
Schools Must Teach Us How to Learn – to be critical thinkers.
Schools Must Teach Us Learn to Live
The Paradox of Education 2013
Create new things, measured old ways
Today kids can create profound artifacts of their own learning, but that doesn’t get reflected on the state tests which still looks at things the old way.
Data Driven Decision Making – assumes that you use good data and good data is not cheap.
Is a standardized test the right data? Or is it the work they do in the classroom. We have to learn to quantify that data.
Things like standards based grading , rubrics – this is what we should use.
Preparing for the SATs ACTS, etc. those are important days in a kids life. But what are we doing to prepare them for the other days of their life?
Deliver Instruction – what kind of concept is that? If you can deliver it, you can buy and sell it. You do not deliver instruction, you teach. Let them deliver pizza, not instruction.
Dream Bigger – Personalize the learning. If content is static, but only the pace is different, that is not personalized learning. Personalized learning relates to the interest of the individual student.
We learn best when it matters to us – is that how our school works? If not, why not?
Some schools left block scheduling because when you bomb, you bomb big and long.
If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play – John Cleese. The same is true for students. Check out the MIT video lab. “Life long kindergarten” is there motto.
We need to be historians and scholars of our own professions. Do not forget the history of education and those who came before us. Their ideas will still work.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those cannot learn unlearn and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler.
What will you unlearn?
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?
Tell a better story – we must have a vision.
1. We need to build Caring institutions: We teach kids, not subjects.
Children should not be the applied object of their own education. We take care of them.
2. We must be inquiry driven – ask questions especially when we do not know the answers.
What do you think? How do you feel? Are easy examples – you will get great discussion
3. Student centered: It is not about us.
Teacher-Mentored – Kids need adults.
4. Community Based – We can learn from many.
If you read English novels with living authors – reach out to publisher and author. Skype in. Same in science with teachers and scientists.
5. Collaboration – synthesis works. My idea should change with the interaction with yours and both our ideas become better for it.
6. Passionate – high school is real life. kids understanding that work they do now is powerful, relevant, meaningful, etc.
7. Integrated – the day must make sense.
9th grade themes is “who am I?” What affect does world have on me? What affect do I have on it? They study this in all subjects to integrate the concepts.
8. Metagonition – teach students to understand how they learn
9. Project based learning
Most schools have a piramid
meaning they give projects, but it ends with test. that is not PBL
Tests and Quizzes
the goal is the project. you may give tests and quizzes along the way to measure data. but see what they learned. What can they apply? It must involve their interest.
If all they did was follow a script, that is not PBL.
10. Common Language of teaching and learning – it has to be common amongst all teachers
Common Process – every teacher uses understanding by design. is that the worlds best form? Maybe not, but it is uniform so all teachers speak the same language.
Common Outputs – rubric
you can get this from the website. in student handbook
11. 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.
neil postman: certain technologies are not additive, they are trans-formative. He was talking about the printing press.
Schools should be completely new. Do things more powerfully than ever.
What is the goal? Thoughtful, wise, passionate and kind.
How are we going to get there?
11. Be humbled by he talk- we do not know everything. Be skeptical of anyone who thinks they know it all.
2. Have Fun – we get to teach!! Find reasons to be happy about what we are doing.
3. Organize – come together across all boundaries, public -private, teachers-student, principal-teacher, etc. -
The time is now!
4. Ideas must live in practice – it is not just in the handbook, or just in 2 teacher’s classrooms. What are you doing to make this flourish in your school beyond the years you will be there.
5. We have a choice – control or support
6. Keep asking questions, but do not settle for easy answers
7. What do you think? This is the link between inquiry and care. We can all ask this. what do you think? What do you feel? To do whatever it is you need to do?
8. 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.
9. It is all about empowering kids
10. Keep the conversation going. Take it back to your school.
11. Share – tweet, blog, present.
12. Be willing to be transformed – we have so much left to learn.