Saturday, February 23, 2013

Education Today: Time? Priorities?

One of the greatest issues in schools today is that we run out of time to meet all the student standards, passions and interests that sit before us each day. As I've mentioned many times it's a brave new world of education--a world of limitless possibilities and paths.

Hence, as a classroom teacher I find myself wanting to meet current standards, respond to individual students' needs/passions and teach for the future as well.  Ideally the systems that exist would support my efforts by directing time and energy into direct student response, innovation exploration and pilots and revised systems of organization and communication.

Many would like to solve the education problem by adding time without dealing with the need for reorganization, prioritization and communication.  I always think of that as the "clothes in my drawers" problem which means that no matter how many ways I sort, fold or rearrange the clothes in my drawer, if there are too many clothes--they won't fit.  So it's best to rethink the "clothes and the drawers" rather than to simply look for ways to achieve the impossible.  The same is true for schools--simply put, students and teachers have limited energy and adding a few hours of school each day with same structures and added responsibility for students and teachers will not make the difference, the difference will come with reorganization of effort, communication and intent.

The education issues today hold great promise for new structures and organization to best meet students' needs. As the issues are debated, I'll keep working to synthesize the three areas of intent mentioned above as I work with colleagues, students and parents to direct our energy in the most fruitful, promising and engaging ways.