Update: School Visibility Initiative

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Earlier this week I announced our School Visibility Initiative. Challenges for Week 2 (February 9 – 15) have been sent out and, as of this morning, we have 35 different school organizations participating from 14 different states and countries. Awesome!

We are asking participants to send us URLs of their success meeting the challenges so hopefully we’ll have some to share soon…

Want to learn more (and maybe sign up)?


The factory model of schooling undermines teacher nurturing

Don Berg said:

I suspect that most teachers are nurturing, or at least want to be, and that they already make a meaningful difference in the lives of some small proportion of their students despite the nature of the system.

But as wonderful as that is, the system has no mechanism for supporting, let alone encouraging, individual nurturing behaviors. In fact, the system suppresses nurturing behaviors.

In 2009 the peer-reviewed journal Educational Psychologist published a literature review article by Professor Johnmarshall Reeve on why the majority of teachers act in ways that thwart the primary psychological need for autonomy.

He suggests that both the system and the individuals in the situations studied reinforce behaviors that are exactly the opposite of nurturing in a variety of ways, not because of back room conspiracies nor venal depravity, but because of tragic misunderstandings.

The deleterious effects of the system overwhelm the positive effects of nurturing individuals because the system is currently organized in a manner that undermines nurturing, the very foundation upon which education is built.

Ironic, don’t you think?

The system is not all-powerful, so it does not always undermine the foundation completely.

But it does its undermining work relentlessly day after day after day and it does more harm than most people want to acknowledge.

Learn more at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/every-parent-s-dilemma-a-book-project


Refusing to let children practice agriculture because it might weaken their hunting skills

Doug Johnson said:

If at the end of the last ice age the natives of Minnesota had refused to let their children practice agriculture because it might weaken their hunting skills (although the animals were moving north and it was easier staying fed growing corn), would they have been doing them a service? As information becomes ubiquitous, learning becomes self-motivated, and post-literacy becomes the norm, are we doing our students a service by keeping them from using the tools of the technologic climate change that is on us now?

via http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2015/2/3/adapting-to-technologic-climate-change.html


Hiding data from the public

Mercedes Schneider said:

I think that any time you have a situation where information is as tightly controlled as it is by education officials in Louisiana, that should raise a real red flag. If you can’t find data that hasn’t been massaged or indexed or changed to the point where it no longer means much, that’s a red flag that there’s something going on that officials don’t want us to know. And if reporters aren’t going to ask those questions, somebody else is going to have to.

via http://edushyster.com/?p=6350


Oblivious to organizations, systems, and high quality leadership

Leslie Wilson said:

On one hand, [school administrators] have entered this century keen on improving non-performing schools, knowing the moral imperative of students’ using technologies, personalizing learning, and seeking to comply with state and federal mandates. What amazes me is that at the same time they ‘lead’ as though they are oblivious to current research and best practices regarding organizations, systems, and high quality leadership. How to help them? That’s what my colleagues and I are grappling with.

via http://www.k12blueprint.com/content/peel-back-onion-organize-success


Corrosive to a teacher’s humanity

Ellie Herman said:

If teaching is an art and a science, I’m scared that in our national conversation about education, we are so intent on demanding accountability for mastering the ‘science’ part that we’re creating conditions that seem designed to crush teachers’ souls. When our system treats teachers with disdain, creating accountability measures whose underlying premise is that teachers are so incompetent and lazy that they need to be monitored rigidly, strictly and incessantly, at what point does that myth become corrosive to a teacher’s humanity? 

How do we nurture and encourage the qualities teachers need in order to use all these techniques in the first place, the faith, the compassion, the patience, the passion for a subject? Can we start by valuing those qualities – by which I do not mean putting a dollar value on them? Can we acknowledge and respect the individual lives and experiences that teachers are bringing to the classroom every day, without which none of what they’re teaching would be of any use to anyone? Can we balance our need for accountability with our equal need for inspiration?

via http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/02/what-makes-a-great-teacher


Join our School Visibility Initiative

Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency logo

 

[This is open to everyone, not just schools in our region!]

Every day AWESOME things happen in your schools. Are you telling the world?

Is your school using social media to best effect?

Are you learning from other school leaders about how to amplify your message and share your stories?

Are your communication platforms enhancing your institutional branding, educating policymakers, and building community enthusiasm for future initiatives?

Maybe it’s time to join Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency’s SCHOOL VISIBILITY INITIATIVE!

Participants will receive

  • coaching on selection of communication platforms and social media channels,
  • exposure to best practices and innovative communication ideas from around the world,
  • advice on how to set up a student media team to help with institutional storytelling,
  • weekly challenges that will push your communication to new heights,
  • and much, much more!

If you’re ready to sign up, complete the online form to receive weekly challenges and helpful resources. Challenges begin immediately and you can see the archive of past challenges.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch as you have questions!


Why must we ask the 21st century to wait outside our classes?

Internet kill switch

John Jones said:

why must we ask the 21st century to wait outside our classes? Is it just to protect the lecture? We know what a classroom designed around lectures, notes, and quizzes can do, and it is not impressive. . . . Perhaps by embracing the new forms and structures of communication enabled by laptops and other portable electronics we might discover new classroom practices that enable new and better learning outcomes.

There is a robust body of research exploring alternatives to the lecture. Never before has technology been so able to support a new understanding of learning but, as Rivers argues, suppressing the use of new technologies avoids and ignores such discussions.

via http://dmlcentral.net/blog/john-jones/let’s-ban-bans-classroom

Image credit: internet-kill-switch, CyberHades


The educative effect is greater when students do something than when something is done to them

Lecture

Ron Byrnes said:

There should be a corollary to the admonition [to students], “Bring energy for learning; be interested and engaged,” such as “Faculty will resist talking at you. Instead they will capitalize on your energy for learning by developing personalized learning environments characterized by meaningful interaction.”

Deborah Meier argues in The Power of Their Ideas, “Teaching is mostly listening and learning is mostly telling” (1995, p. xi). Likewise, Decker Walker contends in Fundamentals of Curriculum, “The educative effect is greater when students do something than when something is done to them” (1990, p. 479). University faculty rarely apply these aphorisms because they think of themselves first and foremost as mathematicians, philosophers, and psychologists who also happen to teach. Consequently, scant time is spent thinking about whether conventional teaching methods are working. Even less time is spent crafting alternative ones; as a result, a talking at students status quo prevails.

via http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=17818


It’s about opening a door to someone I never knew I could be

Open door

Javier Guzman said:

For my students and the thousands like them, the options they are given are inadequate. The bar is set low and little is expected of them. Mostly they are taught to regurgitate information at breakneck speeds under the guise of equity and the achievement gap. We need to move away from that and build schools that consider the whole person, that understand that our students have passions and interests, and that give them the tools to transcend their environments.

It’s about being given the tools to truly reach one’s full potential. . . . as one of my students stated, “It’s about opening a door to someone I never knew I could be.”

via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lH1gxIT4nSE

Image credit: Open door, Martin Müller


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