This instalment of Education Update includes several articles on the future of schooling and education and I think it is important that we reflect on this given that school hasn’t really changed much in the last 50 years or so. Yes, technology is a much bigger presence these days, but we are still doing so many things in the exact same way we have always done them, which is kinda sad if you think about it too much. The current model of education is antiquated and outdated, driven by a bureaucracy that is out of touch with the needs of the young people forced to endure the archaic procedures and policies that still dictate what we teach and how we teach it.
Of course there is plenty of variety in for your reading pleasure, with articles about teacher training, student engagement, bullying, teaching context, literary devices in song lyrics and the importance of bringing creativity to the classroom.
Things We Do As Educators That Will Embarrass Us In 25 Years
What do we do now that in 25 years we’ll look back on and shake our heads? What are our “doctors smoking cigarettes while giving check ups” moments? I have a feeling we’re going to look back and be really confused by quite a bit. There’s probably a lot more than this, but I had to stop somewhere….read more
Why Teachers Should Be Trained Like Actors
Teaching is a lot like acting, a high-energy, performance profession that requires a person to act as a role model. But when teachers go through training and professional development, the performance aspect of the job is rarely emphasized or taught. Acknowledging this aspect could be a missed opportunity to restructure ways teachers learn new skills…read more
For Students, the Importance of Doing Work That Matters
The growing access to knowledge, information, people, and tools that our students are getting demands a shift in how we think about the work they do in school. “Work that matters” has significance beyond classroom walls; it’s work that is created for an authentic audience who might enjoy it or benefit from it even in a small way. It’s work that isn’t simply passed to the teacher for a grade, or shared with peers for review. It’s work that potentially makes a difference in the world….read more
Engaging our students to the end
As a principal of a large, inner-city K-8 school, I was proud that our students were engaged and excited about learning until the very last day of school and even into the holidays. Their teachers challenged them to engage in projects that would make a difference. They wanted to work hard. Some students were involved in staging a play to raise money for an organization, Finding Life, that was raising money to build a school in Nepal…read more
Your best weapon against bullying? You!
Bullying in school is rightly a topic of great concern these days. Not that it is necessarily worse than any other point in history, but with a recent spate of adolescent suicides, we are more aware than ever before of how damaging it can be, and how permanent the damage…read more
They Do Call It a “Play,” Don’t They?
I was a first-time humanities teacher in a multi-disciplinary, project-based program. My ninth graders were required to study drama, and I selected Euripides’ The Trojan Women, as we had already examined parts of the Iliad in connection with another project. I wanted the students to take the active role in their learning, and to feel free to be creative without worrying about coming up with the right answers to my questions. On the other hand, I wanted to ensure they would be prepared for the expectations of the higher grade levels….read more
Seven Songs, Seven Literary Devices — Celebrating the Poetics of Songwriting
In this article, I will explore some well-known literary concepts as they appear in songs. Of course, for each concept there are thousands of possible examples, and you will probably get a pretty good idea of my musical tastes by the end of it, but it’s just for fun….read more
Teachers’ Most Powerful Role? Adding Context
In classes where students connect ideas from the abstract to real-life events, the role of the teacher…moves from being a distributor of information to one of nurturing students as they collect, evaluate, and process information into unique learning products. The students’ role consequently moves from that of a receiver of the teacher’s knowledge to that of a researcher, curator, and creator….read more
How Teachers and Tech Can Let Students Take Control
School often means rules and regulations that can seem unrelated to the broader goals of education. Students are told to sit down, be still, show up at specific times, and demonstrate knowledge in ways that have nothing to do with the real world….read more
On the Edge of Chaos: Where Creativity Flourishes
f it’s true, in Sir Ken Robinson’s words, that “Creativity is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity,” then it’s that much more imperative to find ways to bring creativity to learning. But first, we have to understand what conditions foster true creativity….read more
Ways To Transform Education By 2030
Up until now there has been a tacit belief that education systems will evolve to meet the needs of the future. But, what if our current modus operandi can’t evolve quickly enough? What if it doesn’t evolve at all?…read more