“Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the judgment that something else is more important than that fear.” -- Ambrose Redmoon, rock band manager in the 1960’s. Oh yeah, he was a quadriplegic as well. What do we judge as so important, it trumps our fear of rejection, failure, and questioning from colleagues, parents, administration?
Ask what a respected colleague or leader would do.
Courage is 90% mindset, only 10% craft and mechanics of pulling it off.
‘Forged by the operating tenets with which we perceive the world and conduct our actions. Effective educators regularly assess these principles for validity and revise them in light of new evidence/perspective. In teaching and leadership, we seek integrity: Our actions reflect our principles. Put another way: We minimize our hypocrisies. MINDSETMINDSET
Formative vs Summative in Focus: Lab Reports in a Science Class
What Were We Thinking? Everyone in the same subject in this grade level is on the same page on the same day of the week Plan accordingly because there is no more paper supply after January The master schedule cannot be changed to accommodate a compelling guest speaker. Students cannot re-do final exams. Sacrifice good pedagogy because people who are untrained are telling you what to do.
What Were We Thinking? We can’t incorporate a new “app” in our lessons because it promotes the use of personal technology that school hasn’t sanctioned. Our new students are three grade levels below grade level proficiencies but they have to do well on the final exam anyway. We can’t take that field trip with the class because that would be too much time away from preparing for the annual state or provincial exam. “Stop being so creative,” a colleague comments. “You’re making me look bad.”
Consider how personal technology is changing the way our students do things. We’ve entered a 24-7 work cycle. Official homework as we know it will soon fade.
Information Age is old school. We’re in the High Concept Age, and we have the tech to pursue it: Twitter and other social media Daily newspapers downloaded for analysis Museum school partnerships and Virtual Tours QR codes attached to classroom activities Student-designed apps Khan Academy and similar on-line tutorials Graduation in four states now requires one course taken completely on-line Google Docs Google Glass/Eyes – wearables, implantables, augments
MOOCS – Massive Open On-line Course Crowd-Sourcing MIT Open Courseware TED talks and ed.Ted.com Screencasts (ex. Camtasia Studio) Voicethread Moodle PBL’s Prezi iMovie Edmodo
Just because we can’t fathom the logistics doesn’t mean we abandon the principle.
#1 Most Common Characteristic among the state Teachers of the year: They broke the rules.
“We went to school. We were not taught how to think; we were taught to reproduce what past thinkers thought…. …Instead of being taught to look for possibilities, we were taught to exclude them. It’s as if we entered school as a question mark… …and graduated as a period.” -- Michael Michalko, Creative Thinkering, 2011, p. 3
“ Do they know how to ask good questions?” -- Tony Wagner, The Global Achievement Gap, 2008
Get students to ask more questions than we do What should a lawyer never do in a court trial? Ask a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer.
Being good at taking standardized tests doesn’t qualify students for creative contribution to society or successful citizenship.
Could you teach the differences between architecture in the Middle Ages and architecture in the Renaissance period in such a classroom?
(Sampling from Innocentive.com, page 1, downloaded June 24, 2012) Seeking Orthogonally Functionalized Cyclobutanes Navigating the Inside of an Egg Without Damaging It Cleveland Clinic: Method to Reconnect Two Tissues Without Using Sutures Seeking 1H-pyrazolo[3,4-b]pyridin-3-amides Synthetic Route to a Benzazepinone My Air, My Health: An HHS/EPA Challenge Mechanistic Proposals for a Vanadium-Catalyzed Addition of NMO to Imidazopyridazines Seeking Highest and Best Commercial Application for Breakthrough Innovation in Building Technology/Structural Optimization Desafio da Educação: Como atrair pessoas talentosas para se tornar professor na rede pública brasileira
“The problem solvers...were most effective when working at the margins of their fields….While these people were close enough to understand the challenges, they weren’t so close that their knowledge held them back and cause them to run into the same stumbling blocks as the corporate scientists.” (p. 121, Lehrer) Check out InnoCentive at www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/browse What would this look like in education?
Writer and educator, Margaret Wheatley, is correct: “We can’t be creative unless we’re willing to be confused.”
Cultivate Teacher Creativity. Seriously, it’s just as vital as content expertise, professional behavior, and maintaining proper records. Professional fortitude builds with every addition to our creative repertoire.
Do teachers have the creativity to solve their own problems? My whole lesson today is based on accessing those three Websites, but the school’s Internet is down, so what can we do instead? Small groups are not working in my class, yet I know they’re important for many students’ learning. How do I get these students to stay focused on their group tasks? I’ve backed myself into a corner explaining an advanced science concept, and it’s not making sense to me, let alone to my students. What should I do? Angelica is far beyond where I’m comfortable teaching, but we have two more weeks in this unit for the rest of the class. What will I do with her that honors her readiness level?
I’m supposed to differentiate for some of my students, but I don’t see any time to do it. My school’s current electronic gradebook system doesn’t allow me to post anything but norm- referenced scores, and I want to be more criterion-referenced in my grades. What can I do? Because I’m a veteran teacher, I’ve been asked to be the rotating teacher using a cart and moving from classroom to classroom each period so the new teacher can have his own room and not have so much to deal with his first year. How will I handle this?
Students should be allowed to re-do assessments until they achieve acceptable mastery, and they should be given full credit for having achieved such.
If an “F” on a project really motivated students to work harder and achieve, retention rates would have dropped by now. They haven’t; they’ve increased. We need to do something more than repeatedly document failure.
Re-Do’s & Re-Takes with students and their teachers: Are They Okay? More than “okay!” After 10,000 tries, here’s a working light bulb. ‘Any questions? Thomas Edison
A Perspective that Changes our Thinking: “A ‘D’ is a coward’s ‘F.’ The student failed, but you didn’t have enough guts to tell him.” -- Doug Reeves
If we do not allow students to re-do work, we deny the growth mindset so vital to student maturation, and we are declaring to the student: This assignment had no legitimate educational value. It’s okay if you don’t do this work. It’s okay if you don’t learn this content or skill. None of these is acceptable to the highly accomplished, professional educator.
We don’t let a student’s immaturity dictate his learning and thereby his destiny.
Do not wave from the rim of the pit the child has dug for himself. Instead, jump in and walk with him.
Recovering in full from a failure teaches more than being labeled for failure ever could teach. It’s a false assumption that giving a student an “F” or wagging an admonishing finger from afar builds moral fiber, self-discipline, competence, and integrity.
Comment from Grading Expert, Tom Schimmer: “Adults are rarely mean averaged and certainly, it is irrelevant to an adult that they used to not know how to do something. Yet for a student, these two factors are dominant in their school experience.” -- From, “Accurate Grading with a Standards-based Mindset (Webinar, December 2013)
For leaders: We all have our own philosophy/pedagogy that we believe. To what degree will we allow our teachers to hold beliefs and conduct practices different from our own, especially if we believe they are ineffective?
“Most of the time I’m a leader, but sometimes I have to be the boss.” -- quote from a highly accomplished middle level principal
‘Bold Actions that are Possible When We are Brave Together: Remove Honor Roll. It has little to do with students’ academic achievement and personal maturation. End averaging of grades. Build and use full ropes initiatives courses on school property. Put vocational training back into middle schools. Be open to students skipping grade levels. Get trained in gifted education so we can meet advanced students’ needs in regular education classrooms, if necessary. Foster teacher autonomy. (Example: Switch novel)
Ask colleagues to demonstrate proof of their expertise in the development nature of the students they serve in their lesson plans. Turn middle schools into true middle schools, not junior versions of high school, a.k.a. junior high. Start all secondary levels at 9:00 in the morning or later. Denying students the tools of their daily reality hastens our irrelevance and negates all claims we’re preparing students for the working world. Invite students to use personal technologies in the classroom and teach them to use them ethically.
Open our practices to the close scrutiny of respected colleagues. For leaders: Help struggling teachers instead of dismissing them, and when they don’t respond at first or second, help them even more. Teach in the ways students best learn, regardless of whether or not it’s the way we best learn. Let’s do the same with teachers and their professional development. In a world in which everything can be looked up, emphasize the power of memorization. Speak up about schools at community events.
Adjust the school’s master schedule to support best practices; don’t sacrifice best practices to support the master schedule. Revise our thinking in light of new evidence – be open to correction from parents, colleagues, and students. Participate in the national/international conversations of your field. Put previous curriculum on subsequent tests, even months later, and record the marks, higher or lower, accordingly. Ask the larger questions of what we do.
Accept the fact that teachers are no longer the final arbiters of knowledge and teach accordingly. Teach/Lead in a low performing school. Teach/Lead in a high performing school. Denounce value-added evaluations of teachers, including the use of students’ test scores as highly influential measures of teacher quality. Make it the policy that we cannot take students out of P.E., fine/performing arts, and tech classes to double-up on their math or reading remediation for exams.
What goes unachieved in students because we chose to be politically safe?
Tonight, (Today) we are young. So let’s set the world on fire, We can burn brighter than the sun!
Reflections 1.How is courage cultivated in teachers? 2.Who are your education heroes and why them? 3.Describe a courageous act of teaching or leadership by you or a faculty member, and its result 4.Explore the pro’s and con’s of teacher autonomy. 5.Where is the line between letting a teacher teach, and you stepping in to change his/her approach? 6.How can we help teachers/colleagues get comfortable with creativity? 7.Identify at least one act of courage that faces you in the coming year. 8.Choose one idea on the list of, “brave acts if we are bold,” and respond to it – Agree? Disagree?