Monday, June 16, 2014

Professional Learning: Critical Mismatch?

It occurred to me this morning that the trouble with the Common Core is not the standards, but the way they are being dealt with.

As if children are washing machines or another mechanical apparatus, multiple agencies are trying to provide directions as to how to assemble, fix, or operate our young children (machines) rather than how to teach.

Wouldn't it be better to strengthen the teacher's depth of knowledge, skill, and concept in every standard? Teachers who have experience with the standards and their application are more likely to teach those standards well, and rather than providing teachers with countless sets of instructions, let's focus professional learning efforts on deepening teachers' ability to understand, apply, and adapt knowledge in multiple ways with a variety of tools and strategies.

This is not a new idea. Experts like Lucy Calkins have always noted that to teach writing well, a teacher needs to write, and mathematicians know that to facilitate math learning a teacher needs to understand the math at a deep level.

Our little children are not machines. Instead they are evolving people, people who are continually changing and adapting to their surroundings, biology, and inner needs.

So with this in mind, a phrase like "lead learner" takes on more strength, and a model like that of a craftsperson provides more leadership.

Have we been wrong to invest so much into the directions and the assessments and not enough into the craftspeople--the ones who are facilitating the learning each and every day.  I wonder. What do you think?