My dear friend, a GTAMTV and MERIT13 colleague, Diana Neebe brought up the #makeschooldifferent challenge today. Her post can be seen here: http://www.diananeebe.com/research–reading-blog/makeschooldifferent Her blog also links to more amazing educators’ responses at the end of her post. Diana stated several things with which I completely and wholeheartedly agree, and you should go read her blog… often!
The #makeschooldifferent challenge requires one to finish this sentence: When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… so here are my big five things that we have to stop pretending:
- that regurgitation of facts, sentences, or phrases from any novel, textbook, or reading equals meaningful knowledge. I can recite lyrics to Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon,” but that does not mean I understand what the heck Boy George means when he says, “Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream: red, gold, and green…” Maybe that’s a bad example, but seriously, what IS he talking about?
- that standardized testing should occur during the 180 days we’re given to teach. Make it happen as an optional thing that happens after the last day of school. How many parents would actually bring their kids back for that? (Of course, I think it should not happen at all… but I digress.)
- that homework is necessary for good practice at home. For many students who struggle, homework means repeated mistakes unsupervised and not corrected. Plus, as Alfie Kohn says, what school or teacher has the right to tell me what my kid should do at home? It’s my time to be with my kids, for them to be their age and enjoy their youth.
- that grades are necessary. Why not let projects speak for themselves in a portfolio? With technology being able to capture screenshots, pictures, video, and more, why don’t we assess kids on deeper learning, creativity, critical thinking, and how they communicate it all?
- that technology use (i.e., mobile phones) are disruptive to learning. You have this tiny, portable computer in your hands. Use it! And don’t get me started on the network filters at schools… kids are using their phones without filters all the time. Let them use their phones as tools to help them get more out of their school day. If a kid is bored in your class and goes to Snapchat, who’s problem is it, really? Stop making the network filter your classroom management tool. Sheesh.
OK, so now I am going to invite Karen McMillan, Eddie Campos, Jr., Adam Welcome, Marlena Hebern, and Ryan Archer to the #makeschooldifferent challenge. I look forward to hearing what these respected educational leaders think!