Monday, November 17, 2014
Buzz Words and Silos Need to be Replaced with the Proper Motivation
I have been giving a lot of thought about writing this post. It may seem to some as being hypocritical and undermining what I have written or may write in this new series of posts that I hope to write on different educational topics. That being said I will admit I may be guilty of doing some of these things but I still feel its important for me to express my thoughts and feelings.
I once gave a presentation the focused on the fact that Differentiation and " 21st Century Skills" are not fads but are good teaching.
I would like to see those 21st century skills called life skills since that is what they really are, and I have written how differentiation is just good teaching.
Unfortunately too many people get caught up in buzz words like differentiation, 21st century skills, educational technology, 1:1 programs, and blended learning.
These words and ideas are very important and I am by no means making light of them.
At the same while people talk about collaboration and working together we tend to put up silos while preaching about transparency and collaboration. Just as example, I know of 5-6 different programs and organizations that are working on and claiming to be at the forefront of blended learning. So while some may be collaborating there are still silos and territories being staked out and put up.
ON THE OTHER HAND:
The buzz words and concepts are important and we should be and need to be focusing on them and talking about them. I also think it's great that some many people are talking about blended learning.
So what's my problem and what's my answer
To me the problem is what's behind it all. For too many it's to be seen at the cutting edge of education. We throw around these terms and invest in something because if we don't we will be seen as old school and missing the latest trend. It may cost in getting students or getting funding and donors to invest in out program. However in reality they are paying lip service to the ideas.
The answer lies in the motivation as well.
Are we interested in meeting the needs of our students?
Do we want to know our students individual stories ?
Do we believe that things must be fair but not necessarily equal?
There are others but that needs to be the motivation behind differentiation. I believe those questions and others need to drive many if not all of our decisions.
Why are we going to a 1:1 program? Will help meet the needs of our students?
Is a blended environment best for our students and our school culture? Will more students needs be met in a blended classroom?
Are these the motivating factors or are we just trying to fit in with the "Cool Group"