I recently came across a quote by Dylan Williams: “We are preparing students for a world we cannot even imagine.” That is going to be a pretty tough thing to do and it will require a lot of change on the part of the education system to prepare our children for the future. In order to make a successful change to how our children are educated requires the involvement, support and knowledge of all those affected by this change. Educators and support stuff often collaborate to support positive change whether it is in the classroom, the school or throughout the district. But how much are parents and families actively involved in that collaboration? A successful personalized learning environment will requires the support of all adults, not just the educators. Quantum physicist David Bohm was quoted as saying “The goal is to create a conversation that helps people think together.” Is that not what collaboration is? Collaboration provides many opportunities for deep and thoughtful conversation and when people collaborate and work together better decisions are made. So we would like to know how your school is involving parents and families in the collaboration process. Are you working to actively engage families in the conversations and decisions being made be it in the classroom, the school or within the district? What does it look like? What are the barriers you are facing? What successes have you seen?
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Change is very important as we grow as a society – locally, nationally and globally. We take change for granted in almost all aspects of our lives. In fact many times we do not even stop to think about change and how it affects our lives. But it is there in everything we do.
In our everyday lives we have seen huge changes. We don’t wash our clothes the same way our ancestors did: scrubbing the clothes over a washboard using homemade lye soap. Technology has advanced far enough that we can simply throw our clothes in the washer and dryer. We no longer have to boil our coffee over a campfire first thing in the morning if we need our jolt of caffeine to begin the day. Now we pre-program the coffee maker the night before so we can wake up to a fresh cup of java. These changes do not make us lazy in comparison to our ancestors. It allows us to spend more time pursing the things we enjoy most – spending time with family, friends and even ourselves.
Healthcare has undergone huge changes over years, decades and even centuries. We expect the healthcare system to grow and change as new and innovative treatments, drugs and equipment are developed. We expect to be treated using the most up-to-date, effective and safest methods possible. Gone are the days when we would accept a diagnosis by a doctor of an amputation of the leg for a knee injury. How a doctor may have treated a severe knee injury in the 1800s is not the same way it is treated today. We expect and advocate for ourselves to receive the most invasive treatment possible to repair the damage.
Change can also be found in the way we travel. In years gone past it took up to three weeks to travel between England and Quebec via ship. At first people were dependent on the wind moving the sails, but as time went on, due to change and growth, coal became the source of power thereby cutting the time to cross the ocean even more. Now we simply hop an airplane and can be in England in less than 8 hours. We no longer travel the same way our ancestors did. We no longer travel in horse drawn wagons. We now travel in cars that have made huge advances in safety and can park themselves. We even build our roads differently- no longer do we travel on single lane dirt roads, but now we move about on multi lane highways that are paved using materials that will stand up to wear and tear. As our knowledge increases, the technological advances increase as well and it saves lives.
Change is responsible for the way we communicate now. While some people still long for the good old days of letter writing, it’s safe to say that people communicate more today using email, texts, social networks and Skype. We now have the ability to have a conversation with people on the other side of the world instantaneously rather than depending on letters being mailed back and forth over months to have the same conversation.
Change is responsible for so many things we now take for granted to make our lives easier and safer. So it begs the question “Why are some people so resistant to making and accepting change in our education system”?
If we want to prepare the youth of today with the abilities and skills to be successful in the future, we need to embrace and encourage change in how we deliver education today. Just as new technological advances have improved our day to day lives, changes on how education is delivered will enhance the learning of all children and prepare them for the future.
Educators, parents and community members who advocate for change in education are not suggesting that the way education was delivered in the past was wrong or harmful. We have strived to do the best we can with the knowledge we have. But we are asking that change be acknowledged as a vital part of a growing community and that in order for society to improve and grow we must change how we do things....and that change starts with education.