17 May 2009

Solution Sunday

On Twitter this morning, I just started reacting to "overnight posts" and found myself making ten statements about truly changing schools. Please, add your own, agree, disagree...

I've linked these to SpeEdChange posts.

Solution Sunday: (1) Grade level expectations fail all who develop at different rates (almost everyone) Multiage is way to go.

Solution Sunday: (2) Subject divisions kill natural learning instincts. All subjects need to be integrated.

Solution Sunday: (3) School time schedules prevent education. Flex time according to student needs.

Solution Sunday: (4) Individualized Education for all. All Students are gifted, all have special needs.

Solution Sunday: (5) All students need to start learning contemporary technology from the start. Especially those from less rich communities.

Solution Sunday: (6) Treat your students equitably and bullying will drop. It's a fact - schools encourage bullying through of adult actions.

Solution Sunday: (7) Text-To-Speech systems help all readers, should be in use right from the start (build sightword recognition, teach the value of what reading offers by providing access to content).

Solution Sunday: (8) Teacher training needs to change. Probably via interning in University Lab Schools. Learning better ways, not old ways. (and unlearning the systems of social reproduction)

Solution Sunday: (9) As long as there are high-stakes Standardized Tests, differentiated instruction is a fraud.

Solution Sunday: (10) More learning opportunities, less explicit instruction before age 8. Don't make young kids hate books and math. Stay flexible and tolerant, and natural curiousity will lead to learning.

- Ira Socol


Lisa Parisi said...

Great ideas, Ira. I don't think #10 should stop at age 8. Think it applies to much older students, especially middle schoolers (think Chip Wood's idea of middle school in Yardsticks).

Anita Strang said...

This is a fantastic list of ideas that would truly change schools. One more I have been considering as I read Andy Hargreaves: The Fourth Way. He explains that nostalgia for the past, valuing of standardized test scores, and resistance to change comes out of 'anxiety without information'. He advocates building richer relationships through informed public engagement in order to increase involvement and understanding in the community as a way to decrease the perceived need for test scores to measure education. I think this would make a good addition to your list.

irasocol said...

Lisa -
Yes, you are right. I was being way too conservative here. But I guess hoped to at least get people to stop forcing kids to hate books right at the start. What you're saying is more meaningful, however.

A great addition. We have to change the narratives surrounding education. End that nostalgia for a non-existent past (when about 20% of kids succeeded), and bring people with us.

- Ira Socol

Paul Hamilton said...

I believe #4 is paramount. All learners are indeed gifted, and all learners really do have special needs. Dave Edyburn is so right when he says that we must stop reserving assistive technology for the "privileged" few who "qualify". Each individual has a unique set of learning needs and ought to have access to the learning tools that he or she needs.

irasocol said...

Yes, Paul, that's absolutely essential, along with understanding how everything which surrounds our students is a "tool" - and every tool enables some and disables others.

Only via choice do we get education for all.

- Ira Socol

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