On October 4, there was a once in a lifetime, online gathering of progressive education reform thinkers called, Elevating the Education Reform Dialog. I missed it. Fortunately, several participants live-tweeted the event and Shelly Terrell gathered sounds bites on her blog. My next few blog posts will be devoted to some of the gems.
Will Richardson said, "We can't talk about what SCHOOLING should look like without talking about LEARNING first" (emphasis and tweet by Scott McLeod)
So many people focus their education thinking on the teacher, the principal, the program, the school, or the community. All of those things are important, but what really matters is the learning. Are the students learning? Are the students learning what we think they are learning?
The schooling, or teaching/program, must be reflective of the answer to those questions. If the students are not learning enough or the right things, then we need to change the schooling. We need to look at each student's progress and adjust what we do. I guess I would call this Differentiated Instruction (has that been used already? Darn.).
I would argue that schooling that really focuses on learning will look like many different things each day. The program that we choose to use will work for some, while others will need that program bridged for them. Still others will need a totally different approach. The teacher and the structure, the schooling, needs to be flexible and adaptive.
If we are always looking at the Learning, the Schooling should fall right into place.