Post 13: An Education Revolution from the Field [continued]

Wednesday, December, 5, 12 § 1 Comment

This post includes Parts 2 and 3 of a three-part description of a national movement in adult education that successfully replaced the “sit-down-and-listen” model with a more dynamic, more humanistic learning approach. Read Part 1 here. By guest contributor Paul Biderman, J.D.

In Part 1, I described the Kolb learning circle, which presents a drastically revised approach to teaching people of any age and profession—in my case, judges and judicial staff. Here, in Parts 2 and 3, I describe what may be of more relevance to this blog: how nationwide exposure to the Leadership Institute and experiential learning concepts sparked a national movement to reinvent the field of judicial education. « Read the rest of this entry »


Post 11: The Third Way

Thursday, November, 22, 12 § 2 Comments

Educational historian Diane Ravitch has described how the history of public school reform in the US can be divided into two basic approaches: the accountability approach, and the professionalism approach.

The accountability approach is all about outputs. Results. It’s hot right now, and has been for some time, among policy-makers like Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and philanthropic leaders from the corporate world, like Eli Broad and Bill Gates. Their argument, in a nutshell, is that the best way to improve schools is by setting clear and measurable expectations for student performance, testing whether or not those expectations have been met, and then rewarding, re-training or sacking the adults who are responsible for the successes or failures. « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 9: The Big Question

Wednesday, October, 10, 12 § 3 Comments

Among the people following these posts is a childhood friend of mine who is not an educator. He’s a smart, progressive guy and a good critical thinker, and recently we had some time to chat about the point of this blog.

Despite the highfalutin language of our writing (our perhaps because of it) my friend isn’t sold on the need to re-form the way we do public school. Sure, classroom-based learning can be boring at times, but in general he enjoyed his years of public schooling and university, and saw how it gave him and many of his classmates ample opportunity to explore different areas and develop their interests.

As we spoke more, we realized we had different ideas about what school should look like because we had different ideas about what schools should do. Which means it’s time to take a step back and consider the bigger question:

What is school for? « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 7: Leadership Begins at Home

Wednesday, September, 26, 12 § 1 Comment

Guest contributor Nanda Currant is an artist and filmmaker with an extensive background in education and art therapy. She recently produced Conditions to Flourish: Reflections from Former Homeschoolers, which can be previewed here. [Full bio].

I have been thinking quite a bit about leadership. We have lived by a model of hierarchy for a long time. We have assumed that our schools, communities and nation must be run the way we think a dog pack runs, that there must be an Alfa and Omega, a dominant figure on top, leading the way.

But this may be a faulty way of thinking about leadership, and not only for society, but even for dogs. Recently I read Your Dog is Your Mirror by Kevin Behan. Ostensibly about dog training, the book presents a new way of thinking about “packs,” and about learning.  Behan speaks about energy and how it moves in a pack, and how the heart of the animal has more to do with the hunt than does the hierarchy or supposed Alpha leaders. « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 4: The New Form, Imagined

Thursday, September, 6, 12 § 3 Comments

Last week we “went public” with School Re-formed when I invited a few dozen of my friends, family and colleagues to give us a click. The intention of sharing the site was not to tout our ideas to a large audience, but to invite some thoughtful people into the conversation on schools and learning that Christian Casillas, Zöe Nelsen, Greg Goles and I have been having for years.

We received some good feedback, and picked up a couple of guest bloggers for upcoming Thursday posts. But the most valuable response was from a former colleague, a practicing educator of great compassion and integrity whose short email raised a question I hadn’t considered in a long time: Do our schools really need to be “re-formed”? « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 1: Where Genuine Learning Happens

Thursday, August, 16, 12 § Leave a comment

In the summer of 2011, Aaron Stern, president and founder of the Academy for the Love of Learning, in Santa Fe, NM, offered me the sort of opportunity that doesn’t come around often.

As part of his Academy’s mission to “reawaken our culture” by transforming people’s lives, Stern wants to help the community of Santa Fe reconsider the way it schools its youth. And he wanted me to do some preliminary research.

“Take some time to look around,” he told me. “See what sorts of interesting models of learning are out there.” « Read the rest of this entry »

Profile: El Nido and El Atelier

Friday, August, 10, 12 § Leave a comment

Children as protagonists and teachers as learners: two learning centers in Colombia inspired by the groundbreaking pedagogy of Reggio Emilia.

« Read the rest of this entry »

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