This week we decided to follow up on some of the conversations we’ve been having and co-create a list that answers the question:
What MUST we DO to transform schools into places of authentic, democratic learning?
At one point we mentioned involving someone else in creating this list as well, and I know several of us have been having those conversations with our local peers.
So, to begin the list are three action items from Becky Fisher, Assistant Director For Information Management and Instructional Technology in Albemarle County Public Schools, VA. (@beckyfisher73 on Twitter)
1. Stop using low level state tests as excuses for not teaching authentically and not taking the time to run a democratic classroom.
2. Work diligently to prove authentic assessments have validity and reliability and can, in fact, be used to demonstrate skills and mastery, replacing those multiple-choice, low level tests.
3. Abandon practices that sort, select and compare kids to one another.
Now for mine:
4. Look for competence and find successes to share. Build confidence and creativity as you honor all kinds of learning and all kinds of learners. Listen to your heart as you watch and observe, and keep in mind that students build a sense of self through experiences that both challenge and support them. Think about your tone of voice, and the looks on your face that kids see throughout the day. Make sure kids know you believe in them! Have you scaffolded them and the learning so they willingly and ably approach new learning with their own strengths and ideas? Are your students leaving you each day feeling more knowledgeable, more confident and more ready to face the next adventure in life?
5. Run a joyful classroom. Construct high-quality and meaningful tasks that make learning rewarding. Build a respectful community that supports each and every learner succeeding, working together in a network of engagement and sustenance. Are you supporting your students to open their hearts to one another and become a responsive, caring part of the world?
6. Vow to share EVERY DAY with a colleague ONE practice you think is worth repeating based on the engagement of your kids. Converse with that colleague about the qualities of engagement and high quality work. Does what you’re asking students to do REALLY matter in the big picture of life?
So what are the things YOU believe we simply MUST DO to transform schools?
Join in and share your ideas as we share ours this week.