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Monday, September 14, 2015

Who Has the Time? Who Has the Responsibility?

One big issue in schools is the way we use time?

Often the educators with the greatest responsibility for student learning have the least time to research, plan, prepare, and work with individuals and small groups of students?

There's something wrong with that equation.

Learning in large groups is often ineffective.

Every school should do a roles, responsibility, schedule, and structure audit. This audit should answer the following questions:
  • What is the ratio of time to people for every individual? For example most classroom teachers have a ratio of 1:20+ most of the day. I don't think that leads to best teaching/learning.
  • How is time spent? If the large majority of an educator's time is spent sitting at meetings, is that effective? Perhaps, but how would you make that decision? What further questions would you ask?
  • Does exhaustion play a role in teaching/learning success? For example is an educator who has large groups a day more exhausted than an educator who works with about five students a day? Perhaps, yet I know this depends on multiple factors, all factors that need to be assessed.
  • What about the responsibility for professional learning--where is this steep and where is this less steep? How does this affect the roles and responsibility quotient?
  • With regard to professional learning, is time well spent or does it mimic old time, factory-model learning?
We can probably save money (or at least not spend more) and increase educational success with roles, responsibilities, schedules, and structure audits in many schools. However, there are schools (and I know of some) that don't have enough staff, and those audits will demonstrate that there's little extra and a need for greater staffing and support which will cost more money.

We spend a lot of time in schools debating the wrong questions. We'll do a better job if we pay attention to the questions we're asking, right questions that include who has the time, and who has the responsibility?