Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What must be done to improve our schools?

This blog entry is in response to Aleta’s WAMU commentary on Wednesday, May 30, 2007. (Click here to read the commentary. Click here to hear the commentary.)

Believe in the potential of every child.
Every child possesses the ability to think critically, learn and understand information, and solve complex problems.
  • Enlist teachers and principals as allies to ensure that students spend the vast majority of their time in school engaged in these kinds of activities.
  • Provide compelling opportunities for teachers to learn how to set up problems for students to solve, so they may teach in a way that builds on students’ intellectual curiosity and innate desire to learn.

Understand that teachers are the solution.
As the primary contact for our children, teachers are the ones with the power to help students reach their full potential. Nothing will change for our schools unless teachers change what they do in their classrooms. How can we empower them to do this?
  • Instead of providing teachers with scripted curricula, challenge teachers to build their skills by analyzing the ways in which they themselves learn; understanding the multiple ways in which children and young people learn; and designing their instruction so that students are motivated to work at full capacity.
  • Shift our focus from “covering the curriculum” to ensuring students understand and appreciate the information we expect them to learn. In other words, teach children how to think, not just what to think.
Start a new conversation.
  • The next time you’re talking with your friends and colleagues who have school-aged children, instead of asking, “How is your child doing in school?” ask “How is school inspiring your child? How is it turning him on to learning?”
I guarantee you’ll have an entirely different conversation. And you’ll help us start a conversation about a kind of school experience that goes beyond conventional boundaries to challenge the imagination, inspire educators, and engage students.

Please help us spread the word!

Visit our website to learn more about Center for Inspired Teaching and the work we are doing to ensure schools make the most of every child's innate desire to learn.

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