Sunday, April 21, 2013

Education Change?

As I get ready for the next leg of the school year, I am wondering why I am so married to the notion of change. Why not leave things as they are?

The simple answer to that question is that we need change because change has the potential to better our work and serve children with greater care, understanding, specificity and strength.

In any profession, there is always roms for growth and change, the potential to do a better job and contribute to a more beneficial effect, and that is why change is essential.

I looked for quotes to guide my thoughts today and came across this New York Times' post, "Falser Words Were Never Spoken," written by Brian Morton.  In his article he tells us the truth about the many quotes we use for inspiration as we move forward in life, and reminds us that ". . .thoroughgoing change, whether personal or social, involves humility and sacrifice, and that the effort to change oneself or the world always exacts a price."

Hence as I move forward in the changing world of education, I remind myself of the following tenets:
  • Students First: All change in education should focus on the student and what is best for his/her life.
  • Collaboration: We cannot make substantial and effective change alone; we must collaborate and work together to effect positive change.
  • Change is Not a Race: While efficiency is integral to effective change, change is not a race for the best idea or quickest solution, instead it is an expected part of the ongoing process of education.  Change is a constant and a steady part of an effective educational system. 
  • New and Old: Change must synthesize the best of the new with the best of the old.
  • Meet Change with an Open, Analytical Mind: Do not hinder change with a close minded attitude, but also don't accept change just because it is new.  Debate, analyze, experience and finesse change for greatest effect.
In my sphere of education work, I am reminded of the many changes at play right now, and the great need to effectively promote positive change and work collaboratively to use change to do a better job by the children I teach. 

As noted before, the changes I'm focused on right now are the following:
  • An effective, multi-modal, blended math learning environment.
  • Learning design that emphasizes learning to learn, content and standards, and how learning can affect others' actions, thoughts, and quality of life. 
  • Community building.
  • Engaging and empowering students.
  • STEAM labs.
  • Learning Community Two-Way Coaching: parent/student--educator, colleague--colleague, leadership--colleague. . .
  • Collaboration 
Change brings promise to the work we do.  Change also brings a sense of joy and enthusiasm as we revise old practices and create new efforts to meet the challenges education poses.  Hence I'll return to work tomorrow with a renewed investment in moving education, both individual and collaborative efforts, towards change that will best support teaching children well.