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Unspoken Rules | Practical Theory
"I love using this clip as a way to spur people to think about the unspoken rules, policies and procedures that exist in schools.

[embedded video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N16YkjFVAyE ]

The overwhelming majority of schools have a student handbook, codes of conduct, etc… but often, those are only the stated policies, and often, the unstated policies are as much what govern the school as anything else.

And while it’s my contention that we don’t want to create schools where every last behavior / idea / action is regulated by some 400 page handbook of student and teacher behavior, we also want to be aware of — and reflective about — the unspoken rules and practices of our schools. When we are, we create more intentional schools where the ideas and systems that power our communities are transparent and understood.

It’s worth noting, as well, another reason it is so very important to unpack unspoken policies. Schools live in the world – and that world is one where issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism continue to do great harm. One very powerful way to combat the inequities of our world is through intentionality. When we examine the unspoken practices of our schools, we can unpack the questions, “Who is benefiting from this behavior? Who is harmed by it? And how can we ensure that the practices of our school are equitable?”

And, for me, this practice starts with adult behaviors and practices. It’s why I care so deeply about the relationship between a school’s mission and vision and the systems and structures that enable that mission. When mission and vision are shared and deeply understood and believed by everyone, and when the systems and structures that govern the school are aligned with that mission, then the practices – both those in the handbook and those that are not – can align and be understood by all.

There are ways to unpack the invisible or unspoken policies. Some questions a faculty can ask itself to spur the process:

• How are “everyday” decisions made at the school?
• Who is tapped to get work done when it falls outside the scope of an established job description?
• What voices are around the table when an issue arises?
• What is our first reaction to student behavioral issues?
• How are parents involved in the decisions of our school?
• Do we examine the mission of the school when we make big decisions? Small decisions?

And, inside the individual classroom, teachers can do this work as well with questions such as this (and these can be asked school-wide as well):

• How is the mission of the school made manifest in my class?
• Who does my grading policy benefit?
• How do students figure out how to succeed in my class?
• Why are the seats arranged in my classroom the way they are?
• Where is there space for students to influence the governance of my classroom?
• How does every student find space for their voice in my classroom?

And so on… I’m sure everyone can think of more questions to add to the list.

The purpose is that every school can be intentional in their process. We can unpack the unspoken (and spoken) rules such that we can create schools that more purposeful and more equitable in the ways in which they function."
chrislehmann  2016  schools  lcproject  vision  purpose  education  teaching  howweteach  rules  codeofconduct  studenthandbooks  behavior  power  community  communities  decisionmaking  voice  mission  grading  policy  grades  seating  governance  classrooms 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The Open Door Isn’t Always Open | Practical Theory
"“I have an open door policy.”

It sounds great, right? Who could argue with it? But you have to ask a very important question: who isn’t coming in?

As educators, we can convince ourselves that an open door policy is working because kids are coming in. I had a teacher say to me recently that her policy of working with kids who came for extra help was working because there were always kids coming to her for extra help. I asked her about a student who was struggling, and she told me that he never came for extra help. I asked her, “Do you ever ask him to come?”

“I tell all the kids about extra help every day,” was the answer.

Some students need to be invited to come for extra help. Some students need to be told that the teacher wants to see them. That individualized attention where a student feels the personal investment of a teacher is invaluable.

And more than the personal, there’s a sociopolitical aspect to this as well. Often times, children come to school with the ghosts of the experiences their parents had in school. So there are reasons beyond the obvious – sometimes – for why a child may not come for extra help. They may not trust the teacher. They may view that help as “punishment.” They may have been taught that they shouldn’t “need” help. They might just want to run around at recess. There are any number of reasons that might keep a child from walking through that blanket-policy open door.

So when we examine our policies – especially those that center around how we make sure that every student gets the support they need – we have to not be satisfied with inviting everyone in. We have to understand that caring for children means making the time to make the individual invitation as well – to make sure each and all children know that we are there for them."
accessibility  listening  availability  teaching  education  chrislehmann  2015  welcome  opendoorpolicy  helpfulness  presence  support  howweteach  patience  invitation 
june 2015 by robertogreco
On Kindness | Practical Theory
"“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Tonight, a bunch of people I know, like and respect shared yet another video on Facebook of someone accidentally making a fool of themselves. The people who shared it were other educators, some SLA students, folks I know from other parts of my life… folks from across the myriad pathways of my life. I can only imagine how many times that video has been seen across the world by now.

For whatever reason, tonight, that made me really sad. I wondered what those people would think if that was their student, their parent, their child, their sibling. We’ve become callous to the people in those videos, to the people behind the screen, and maybe too many of us are callous to the people we see in person every day.

Certainly, Schadenfreude is nothing new. People have long gotten pleasure in the suffering of others. But that doesn’t make it right.

More than anything else in this world, I value kindness – real kindness where we extend ourselves to others simply because we can.

Kindness is more than being nice. Kindness requires empathy. It requires listening. It actually requires asking people what they need – not giving them what we think they need, but listening to their needs and acting upon them.

When we engage in true kindness, we must remove the space between us and those around us. We must learn to not treat people as “The Other.” We must enter into what Martin Buber called the “I and Thou” relationship. And it means we must acknowledge that other people are as important as we are.

I want to live in a world where people think about being kind as a reflex. I want to see schools where students, teachers, administrators are willing to see each other, listen to each other, and treat each other with kindness and care.

I truly believe that if we can build schools that operate first and foremost from a place of kindness that our kids can build a world that does as well. Our students will learn what we teach, what we model, what we live. Could there be anything more powerful than seeing our students go out and change the world to a place where people truly cared for one another?

As Mr. Vonnegut said, “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”"
chrislehmann  kindness  2015  education  schools  teaching  humanism  empathy  martinbuber  kurtvonnegut  schadenfreude  behavior  vonnegut 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Can Science Leadership Academy “Scale”?
"So does it scale? Kind of. Systems scale. Ideas scale. Concepts scale. But people don’t scale. So yes, eight years of thoughtfully building a coherent school teaches you something about what does and doesn’t work within an inquiry-driven, project-based model, and if we hadn’t learned anything about how to do it well, we probably shouldn’t have any business opening a second campus. But systems and ideas and concepts are also deeply influenced by where they are implemented and who is implementing them. Just like at Science Leadership Academy – Center City, the systems and structures are meaningless until the people breathe life into them. The people who actually will do the work – the educators and students of SLA@Beeber – have to make the systems and structures their own for the school to be a success.

Frameworks matter, and where we can scale up systems and structures so that good people of honest intent can do amazing things together, we need to do so. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel in every school. But we also need to remember that there is a powerful difference between common systems and structures and standardization. The first helps good people work together to build a vision of school, the second assumes that we’ve solved all the problems and now just need to replicate the answers.

What we hope to do with Inquiry Schools is honor the first idea without ever falling into the trap of doing the second."
chrislehmann  scienceleadershipacademy  scale  frameworks  schools  education  2015 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Damian Bariexca on Twitter: "Two must-read blog posts for my #LTPS friends by @chrislehmann (http://t.co/GVPN7L2QQe) and @garystager (http://t.co/M4QJe4UVdH). Thoughts?"
Damian Bariexca: "Two must-read blog posts for my #LTPS friends by @chrislehmann (http://practicaltheory.org/blog/2014/11/20/curriculum-design-putting-the-horse-before-the-cart/ …) and @garystager (http://stager.tv/blog/?p=3408 ). Thoughts?"

[Pointing here for the subsequent back-and-forth between Chris Lehmann and Gary Stager (selectively chosen here), including a couple of comments from Ira Socol.

I share Gary's philosophy of education much more than that of Chris Lehmann's and I admire Gary's knowledge and body of work, but Gary's condescending tone often does his attempts to convince others a disservice. He frequently dismisses others with snide remarks and belittling comments. Gary also falls into self-aggrandizement. For example, complaining the other day that *he* hadn't ever been invited to the White House* (see end for references). So, while I don't share Chris's interest and preference for structure (more the type and source of structure than the presence of structure), I agree with his responses here, especially regarding the day-to-day realities of progressive schools and the need for measures to make working in them sustainable. That's why the majority of the tweets quoted here come from him. Notes added.]

Chris Lehmann: "Gary's a great revolutionary but a lousy policy-maker. Sooner or later, the May Day speeches need to lead somewhere."
[I would love to see Gary get off the workshop and conference circuit and start a school to show others how his approach and philosophy can be the core program of a school and stay intact over time.] https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535788736374910976

"Gary, I think you fundamentally underestimate the need for useful structures to help teachers teach this way." [I'd add that there is also a fundamental underestimation of the day-to-day toll that countercurrents have on those in progressive schools.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867057074872320

"It isn't just about workshops. It's about sustaining the effort over years and finding ways to keep getting better." [Standalone workshops, events, or summer classes are one reality that is often embraced. A core progressive/constructivist/constructionist program is something different altogether and it comes with an unrelenting set of apprehensions, anxieties, doubts, ambivalence, undermining, and accusations from adults who aren't fully committed.] https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867165208231936

"And you, too often, downplay any effort to create structure because of your own dislike of structure. But that is+"
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867291507130368

"too much about you, and not enough about the people you would support - teachers and students. The many failures of+" [Here Chris calls Gary out for making things about him. I have seen this too. For example, rather than critiquing what went on during #FutureReady and suggesting others (day-to-day educators) who should have been there, he griped about not being included, placing himself at the center of the conversation.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867469966352384

"progressive schools that had beautiful visions and insufficient roadmaps toward implementation and therefore suffered"
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867633892347904

"mission drift and founder fatigue, and in time, regressed to the mean is the thing we work daily to avoid. Thus, the+" [Regression to the mean. I've seen that happen in a school. I know of many other schools where that has happened. And sometimes I wonder if it's even worth the while to work in a progressive school rather than focus my energy on supporting those that opt out of school altogether.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867774846119936

"need for thoughtful systems and structures that help good people do the work together through reflective practice."
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867907071541248

"I impune nothing, Gary. I think you are brilliant. I also think you let the perfect being the enemy of the good." [Agreed. There is no need to pit one school against the other. Again, why not create a new school (or lea an existing school) as an example rather than cut down those that are doing their best, aligned with their philosophy? I often say that I have no problem with traditional schools as long as they own what they are doing and don't belittle what others are doing through direct comparison or bashing.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535881338604498945

"not discredit. Merely speak to different experiences. Everything I do is toward SLA as a sustainable structure."
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535881898250473473

"I do not reduce your work. I'm tired of you reducing ours. We at SLA believe in more structure than you. We know." [Here Chris is owning what he believes and what he tries to deliver at SLA. So much respect.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535884701266092032

Ira Socol: "the everyday is very different. It just is" [This. The everyday cannot be compared to workshops, camps, conferences, theory, etc. It's also dangerous to hide (by not sharing or by implying that everything is unanimously embraced by the adults in the community) the very vocal contrary voices that begin to appear when implementing a constuctionist program as the core school day.]
https://twitter.com/irasocol/status/535885352788303872

Gary Stager: "I don't think balance is the goal. This is a matter of stance, of choices." [I agree with Gary here, but that is our philosophy and it's not for everyone. Similar thoughts by Alfie Kohn: http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/progressive.htm ]
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/536214550329044993

Ira Socol: "and where/how one chooses to work" [Yes. One can choose to disagree with the way SLA does things, but one doesn't have to work there.]
https://twitter.com/irasocol/status/536215980184465408

Chris Lehmann: "so when you say "Bridging Differences," you mean "convince Chris he is wrong."" [I think Chris is right here. Impasse is impasse. Time to move on.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/536217394193383425

----------

*"Anyone led more professional development on teaching for the future than me? Funny how I never get invited to the tea party."
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/535485803552456706

"Perhaps a Republican President will invite me to the White House."
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/535487172225146880
garystager  chrislehmann  education  progressive  teaching  structure  2014  irasocol  cv  tcsnmy  disagreement  policy  practice  constructivism  burnout  regression  mediocrity  balance  missiondrift  fatigue  implementation  purity  condescension  alfiekohn  respect  difference  differences 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Don’t Make Presentation Day the Worst Day | Practical Theory
"There are ways to have students get the full effect of other students’ work without a parade of PowerPoint presentations at the front of the room –

Read-arounds – where each group/person has to read the work of two other groups/people and write a response. Using a learning management system can make this process transparent for everyone as well.

Teach-in stations – where students go from station to station and at each station, students are presenting work and doing a poster-session style presentation. Do this in thirds where there are three rounds of poster session and each group presents once and walks around twice. You can have students fill out exit tickets of things they learned from other students’ presentations – again, if that’s done online, it can then create a shared compendium of student learning and reflection.

Critique / Gallery Walk- take a page from the art world, and have the work either digitally or physically available to all members, and have them go from piece to piece and give feedback. (Even digitally, this can be fun to do in physical space so that students can get up and move around.)

There are ways to make the front of the room more exciting too – and there will be times when you want every student / group to do a presentation to the entire class:

Ignite-style: A sense of urgency is an awesome thing, and the Ignite style presentation (20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds) makes for a fast-paced, fun presentation that communicates ideas powerfully with a sense of energy and purpose.

Multiple manifestation of presentations: Give students the options of how they want to present – skits, simulations, videos, even PowerPoint, poster – there are many ways to communicate ideas to a crowd, and students should have the opportunity to experiment with multiple modalities. Often, SLA teachers still have students hand in a more comprehensive paper with the presentation so students can go into more depth as well.

Mini-lessons: If one of the purposes of having students present their projects is to teach their classmates, then why not have students actually create a lesson plan on how to teach their material? Students can create more progressive lesson plans for how to teach their students about what they have learned, complete with creating learning activities for their fellow students.

These are just some of the many ways to make the presentations of student work far more powerful as learning moments than having students lecture their classmates. I’ve seen SLA teachers and students create incredible learning experiences for each other using these techniques and many more. Much like every other part of project-design and inquiry-driven curriculum-design, thoughtful planning of Presentation Day on the front end will make for far more powerful learning when the day arrives."
chrislehmann  education  presentationsoflearning  2014  presentations  sharing  howweteach  delivery 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The Kids Are As Smart As You | Practical Theory
"Back when I was in the classroom full-time, a student paid me what I thought was about the best compliment I’d ever been paid as a teacher.

“Mr. Lehmann, other teachers try to prove to us how smart they are. We know you’re really smart, but in your class, you’re always making us feel that we’re as smart as you. Thank you.”

The coolest thing about being an educator is and should be that you get to spend your life with amazing young people every single day. And if you do it right, you get to view the world through their eyes and listen as they explain their views of the world to you and to their classmates.

When we do that, we learn about how many different views on the world there are, and that, no matter how smart you may think you are as a teacher, the kids bring ideas and intelligences and experiences that are every bit as powerful and important — and smart — as your own. And when we listen with an open mind, an open heart, and a true excitement for those ideas and experiences, we model social learning in the best possible way – by learning from our students.

Learning how to listen hard to the kids is a skill we all need to practice every day. From Zac Chase I learned the difference between “What do you mean?” and “Say more….” The second opens the door to more than just explanation, but to a deepening of the ideas, which – I have learned – can be infinitely more powerful.

And when we listen deeply to all our students, we open ourselves up to the powerful intelligence that exists in every classroom. We honor the wisdom and intelligence of the room when we build communities of practice where everyone – students and teachers alike – are better and smarter for the fact that they all have spent the time together.

The power of a classroom should never been that kids walk away thinking about how smart their teacher is… the power of a classroom is best when the students walk away with the confidence of knowing how smart and capable they — and all their classmates — are."
chrislehmann  listening  teaching  howweteach  children  students  learning  respect  2014 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Dear Gov. Corbett – How Many Kids Must Die? | Practical Theory
"You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this.

And while the nursing services have gotten worse in the current budget crisis, this is a long-standing problem for Philadelphia District schools for a long time. Our city schools have been under-resourced for years, which makes the current crisis all the more painful.

The arterial road you see in that map is City Line Avenue. It is, quite literally, the city line of Philadelphia. Above Philadelphia is Lower Merion School District. One of its two high schools is Harriton HS. Harriton HS has 1188 kids and four full-time nurses. Science Leadership Academy has 490 kids, and we have a nurse two days a week. This year, the average per pupil expenditure in Philadelphia hovers just under $10,000 per child while Lower Merion is able to spend over $25,000 per child. The way we fund schools in this state is criminal, and it has to change.

You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this.

The way we fund schools in Pennsylvania quite possibly cost Laporshia Massey her life, and yet Governor Corbett is holding up $45 million dollars of state money until he gets the work rule concessions he wants from the teachers’ union. $45 million dollars translates into 400 more professional employees (teachers, counselors and nurses) to work with our kids. When schools have no counselors, when schools don’t have full-time nurses, that is the equivalent of blackmail.

And it has cost at least one young woman – Laporshia Massey - her life. I wonder if Governor Corbett even knows that she died.

You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this. But you better be outraged by it."
2013  philadelphia  schools  policy  pennsylvania  inequality  funding  chrislehmann  realestate 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Not Your Father's School: In Which I Confess to Lacking Grit, Apparently, and Blame It on Family
"I didn’t ever know my grandfather terribly well, as he was in ill-health for much of my sentient childhood, and I never heard him say it, but he was quoted by those who should know (that is, by students and teaching colleagues, the folks for whom he saved his best thoughts) as having proclaimed that “A thing worth doing is worth doing poorly.”

What a shocking line from a respected educator! But yet, he had a point that I fully and completely embrace: that one doesn’t need to be an past master, a single-minded obsessive, a ninth-degree adept to enjoy doing something or learning about it. The Expert may be an American icon, but there is no reason that someone should have to be fluent in, say, Dutch to be interested in it as a language or to memorize the scientific names and characteristics of every apple in the Empire State to appreciate the glory of upstate apple-ness."



"
The point of my grandfather’s saying, I think, is that in the end a thing worth doing is a thing worth doing. Sometimes we may achieve full mastery, and sometimes we can only do the best we can. Whether we’re up for 10,000 repetitions, or whether we just want a taste and then to move on, his belief and mine are that curiosity and enthusiasm are felicitous starting points for the exploration of a world of wonders. I’d rather have my recollections of poking around in my grandfather’s library than be under the compulsion to prove how much grit I have. I think, old-school teacher that he was, that my grandfather would agree.

And as for the grit enthusiasts among us, let’s keep in mind that there’s a difference between persistence and heroism, and that we oughtn’t to be demanding heroism from every disadvantaged kid—at least until we’re ready, 24/7, to demand it from ourselves. Let’s focus not on heroism, nor grit, nor “accepting no excuses,” but rather on something we can all own to.

In response to yet another post on this grit business, Laura Deisley cites Chris Lehman’s call for an “Ethic of Care,” a response to what she beautifully describes at kids’ “yearning for relationship and purpose.”

An Ethic of Care just beats grit all hollow."
2014  petergow  caring  via:steelemaley  teaching  schools  persistence  heroism  chrislehmann  lauradeisley  irasocol  josieholford  grit  relationships 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Everything Matters - Practical Theory
"When you have a vision for what a school can be, it has to permeate every pore of the school. Every process, every interaction, every system needs to be held to that process. And while there are pieces of the school that may only be tangential to the mission, it is important to go through the process of stepping through how the core vision of the school affects each part of the school.

Because the thing is… when you move to a more inquiry-driven, student-empowered school, it really does affect everything. When students become empowered to ask questions and seek out answers, everything changes, and you cannot -- and should not -- think that you can leave inquiry at the classroom door. When teachers see themselves as learners and researchers and planners, they will question traditions and policies. And as a community, everyone has to learn how to bring these ideas to bear to make the school whole."
systemsthinking  lcproject  vision  howitshouldbedone  empowerment  consistency  leadership  management  administration  process  inquiry-basedlearning  schools  tcsnmy  values  cv  2012  chrislehmann 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Be One School - Practical Theory
"You have to be one school.

You cannot want one thing for students and another for teachers…

It's hard sometimes. Teachers are adults, and they get paid. So, as administrators, we want and expect more from them. But the values we hold as an administrator will be reflected in the values teachers manifest when they work with the kids. Both kindness and cruelty flow downstream.

If we want classrooms to be active places, so must our faculty meetings be.

If we want to feel cared for by teachers, then we must care for teachers.

If we want students to be able to engage in powerful inquiry, so must teachers.

The biggest crime of the story is that the principal wants kindness and care from the teachers to the students, but is unwilling to do the same for the adults in her care.

We must endeavor to be one school."
chrislehmann  tcsnmy  etaching  education  organizations  schoolculture  doublestandards  2011  management  leadership  administration  lcproject  inquiry  lifelonglearning  care  meetings  facultymeetings  kindness  cruelty  relationships 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Root Causes and the Save Our Schools March - Practical Theory
"I was angry, because I wanted to know how this teacher could possibly have thought that this was an OK way to teach. Who could possibly think that kids could learn that way?

And I thought of a point I've made in dozens of presentations - "Put a good person in a bad system & the system wins too often." What created a system where an adult thought that sitting in front of students & lecturing in a monotone voice about any topic could possibly inspire a child to learn? To care?

How was this teacher educated? Did a teacher ever inspire her? What has this teacher's experience in the classroom been? Was there a time where she cared & had that care disrespected?

Was there a principal who said, "Just follow the curriculum?" Was there someone to mentor her who was able to offer profound advice, not merely survival tips?

Was/is there space for her to continue to be a learner?

Was there a specific moment when she just got tired? When she gave up? When it became "just a job?"…"
sosmarch  education  chrislehmann  learning  teaching  burnout  broken  brokensystems  schools  policy  politics  caring  bullying  empathy  punishment  rewards  accountability  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The art of seeing (Part II) The Practice
"When I observe a school I start by watching how I, and how kids, approach it. I watch how the corridors operate, both when filled with movement and (if) when empty. Empty corridors during a school day speak loudly to me. So do classrooms with one kind of seating, one kind of lighting, or one "teaching wall." I watch the feet of kids in a class. I watch them fidget… [many more examples]…

This multiply-focused kind of observation helps me to begin to deep map a school…

the linearity and single-focus of traditional education has, perhaps, robbed you of, or severely limited, your human observation skills. Tens of thousands of hours of single subject lessons, of staring at teachers, of conference sessions divided into "tracks," have stunted the human abilities you had before you entered school. So, if you feel out of practice, here are a few ideas: Eavesdrop…Look for something you haven't looked for before in a place you've been a million times…Stare…Talk to strangers"
irasocol  noticing  observation  learning  schools  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  schooldesign  lcproject  tcsnmy  students  perspective  eavesdropping  staring  strangers  conversation  understanding  2011  howto  tutorials  adhdvision  adhdwalk  deepmapping  sensemaking  publicschools  sla  chrislehmann  pammoran  children  people  howwework  howwelearn 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Graduation Speech - SLA Class of 2011 - Practical Theory
"And after you have forgotten the granular details of the periodic table of elements, continue to honor the scientific spirit of inquiry, always asking powerful questions and seeking out complex answers.

That is, we hope, what you have learned from us. That inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection are not just words in a mission statement but an iterative process of learning that can and will serve you the rest of your life if you let it. And perhaps above all else, remember that throughout that process, there are those in your life who have been there, who have cared about you, who have mentored you, and in doing so, hope that you will pay that forward. That you will care for those around you. That you will understand that the intersection of that ethic of care and that spirit of inquiry starts with asking the question, “What do you think?” caring about the answer, and then taking action."
learning  chrislehmann  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  education  collaboration  research  presentation  reflection  process  skepticism  ethics  care  questioning  action  actionminded  agency  legacy  persistence  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  commencementspeeches  commencementaddresses 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Entrepreneurship - Practical Theory ["An entrepreneurial school is one where everyone - students teachers and administrators - understand that they can own their ideas and create powerful, useful artifacts of value."]
"The mistake in thinking that “entrepreneurship” belongs only to our capitalist values as a nation. Entrepreneurship has as much to do with our civic values and it does with our capitalist outings, and as such, profoundly and deeply belongs rooted in our schools. … The challenges we all face as our world changes as an ever quickening pace, as the old ways of doing things no longer hold, require a flexibility of spirit, a collaborative sense of purpose and the nimbleness to adapt to rapid change. There are few institutions in our society that are currently configured to handle this change. Schools, by the very fact that they teach the young - those who will have to see this change through, must take the lead in re-valuing and redefining the entrepreneurial spirit. Students must leave our walls with the confidence and skill to bring new ideas to bear on a society that desperately needs them."
entrepreneurship  chrislehmann  education  teaching  learning  citizenship  civics  economics  capitalism  problemsolving  criticalthinking  gamechanging  unschooling  deschooling  socialentrepreneurship  redefinition  confidence  tcsnmy  schools  society  change  glvo  schooldesign  agency  empowerment  cv  innovation  creativity  2011  doing  making 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Enough Already - Practical Theory
"Pedro Noguera and Michelle Fine have an amazing piece in the Nation today about how teachers aren't the enemy. And in it, they argue that, yes, we need to reform many aspects of labor relations in education. I'll go one step further. We need to put the way we teach and learn on the table. But we're not going to get there this way. We aren't going to get there when those arguing for a market driven educational system in this country demonize those who are arguing for a public educational system as "anti-reform" or "anti-student."

It is insulting. It is demeaning. And it is destructive.

No one group - no one side - speaks for children.

No one group - no one side - has it 100% right.

So let's talk.

But leave the overheated, insulting rhetoric that would demean the other side, rather than support your ideas, at home.

Please.

Enough already."
education  policy  schools  rhetoric  reform  children  chrislehmann  2011  unions  politics  pedronoguera  michellefine  davisguggenheim  michellerhee  chrischristie  change  teaching  learning  unschooling  deschooling  marketdrivenapproach  markets  vouchers  us  publicschools  charterschools 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Technology and the Whole Child - Practical Theory
"For years, in our schools, teachers have told students that school is preparation for real life - a statement that divorced the meaning of school from the lives kids led in that moment. With the research, creation and networking tools at our disposal, we have the ability to help students see that the lives they lead now have meaning and value, and that school can be a vital and vibrant part of that meaning. We can help students to see the powerful humanity that exists both within them and all around them. And technology can be an essential piece of how we teach and learn about that."
technology  education  wholechild  constructivism  chrislehmann  johndewey  humanism  networking  socialnetworking  socialmedia  socialnetworks  teaching  learning  schools  change  reform  edtech  policy  progressive  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  realworld 
february 2011 by robertogreco
SLA, 3i, Finding Common Ground and Looking Backward to Go Forward. - Practical Theory
"In reading those documents, you can see the valiant struggle to create something meaningful and powerful and democratic for students in the school. Kids and teachers made decisions together... classes were purely democratically chosen... students powerfully owned their learning. But I also read some of the same problems that we've seen in varying degrees at SLA. Student motivation to make those decisions or find learning on their own waxed and waned.... figuring out what to do when given ownership and freedom was hard... and maintaining the spirit of the revolution, so to speak, could be exhausting."
education  pedagogy  inspiration  irasocol  inquiry  chrislehmann  alanshapiro  neilpostman  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  schooldesign  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  democracy  democratic  teaching  learning  teachingasasubversiveactivity  3iprogram  newrochellehighschool  1970s  1980s  policy  cv  fatigue  burnout  criticalthinking  meaning  meaningfulness  empowerment  identity  slowlearning  charlesweingartner  flexibility  respect  curriculum  2011  revolution 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Modern Schools - Practical Theory
"…does not assume that because we learned a certain way when we were kids that our children must learn the same. A modern school movement does not assume that what was good for us will automatically be good for them, nor does it assume that just because we did something a certain way in the past that it holds no value in the future…does not have to focus solely on tools or skills but rather on ideas and people and the lives we live today.

I want to create modern schools, in and of our time, for our time, for these kids."

[Don't agree with the word choice of 'modern'. 'Progressive' is better fit, but unfortunately brings misconceptions, preconceptions. 'Contemporary' may be the best option.]
chrislehmann  education  modernity  modern  words  schools  policy  tcsnmy  lcproject  teaching  learning  history  future  contemporary  progressive  2011  change  gamechanging  reform 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Satire - The Arena and Dialogue of Ed Reform - Practical Theory
"A piece of Xtranormal satire on the current education debate and what those of us who are trying to make this argument from the grassroots level are up against. Frustratingly accurate, I'm afraid."
reform  education  2010  language  truereform  grassroots  policy  politics  manipulation  insidiousness  chrislehmann  local  frustrating  teaching  schools  philanthropy  privatization 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Story Matters - Practical Theory [Quote here is from a Gary Stager comment that does not speak to the original post, which is also worth the read.]
"Wiggins has once again shown his hand & revealed that he truly believes that the purpose of childhood is to do well in school & that teachers should deliver curricula by any means necessary. After all, the purpose of schooling is vocational preparation & scoring well on high-stakes tests…

…alarmingly hostile anti-teacher/pro-testing rant linked & discussed below.

http://bit.ly/eZxE0l (critical analysis)http://bit.ly/fpB3T2 (original article)http://bit.ly/dYC04s (alternative view)

…I found [Understanding by Design] to be cook-book approach to curriculum planning (hence popularity). Seeing Wiggins & McTighe present…convinced me of UBD's imaginative bankruptcy…never ever question legitimacy, relevance or primacy of curriculum, merely provide way to deliver it.

This is ultimately a coercive parlor trick that not only removes agency from students since they have no say in what they will learn or why, but it undermines teacher agency by making them mere enforcers of "the curriculum.""
granwiggins  chrislehmann  education  history  literature  reading  writing  teaching  schools  curriculum  progressive  coercion  tcsnmy  cv 
december 2010 by robertogreco
What We Can Do - New Teachers - Practical Theory
"Don't just take any job. Work in places that you agree with. And ask a ton of questions when you interview. Include some of these:

* What is the pedagogy of this school?
* How do you nurture, support and develop that pedagogy?
* (To a principal) - What is your theory of action? How does innovation happen here?
* (To a teacher) - How does what you do in your classroom relate to the whole of learning in the school?
* What is the common language of teaching and learning here?
* How do you create systems and structures to support and enhance that language?
* How do teachers learn and grow here here?
* What is the role of the student here? (And don't settle for "To learn.")

And only work in the places where the answers are in line with what you believe. And never work in the places that cannot answer those questions."
chrislehmann  education  teaching  advice  values  educationalphilosophy  cv  learning  lcproject  pedagogy  change  reform  schools  interviews  hiring  toshare  topost 
november 2010 by robertogreco
What I Ask of SLA Teachers - Practical Theory
"9. Understand that your class is but one of five or six or seven classes that kids have. Understand that school is one of many things in a teenager's life. And while what goes on in your class is important, I ask that teachers remember that, at any given moment in time, there are pressures on their kids' lives that makes what goes on in our classes seem powerfully inconsequential. …

1. Remember that we teach students before we teach subjects. I ask that all SLA teachers understand and live the profound difference between the statements, "I teach history," and "I teach kids history." Children should never be the implied object of their own education."
chrislehmann  teaching  learning  education  tcsnmy  schools  schooliness  unschooling  deschooling 
october 2010 by robertogreco
The Big Lie (Thoughts on Why School Is Not Only About Workforce Development) - Practical Theory
"A public education that centers first around workforce development will put high premium on following directions & doing what you're told. A public education that centers first around citizenship development will still teach rules, but will teach students to question underlying ideas behind rules. Workforce development will reinforce hierarchies that we see in most corporate culture, while citizenship-focus will teach students that their voice matters, regardless of station…

I want to be honest about why we teach what we teach. I'm tired of schools & politicians implicitly promising that result of successful schooling is high wages…

Teaching kids that hard work in school will mean more money is shortcut & example of shoddy logic that doesn't ring true to many kids. Teaching kids that hard work in school will help them develop skills that will help them be a more fully realized citizen & person is a harder argument to make, but it stands a much better chance of being true."
chrislehmann  education  tcsnmy  civics  citizenship  economics  schools  schooling  lcproject  umairhaque  douglascoupland  josephstiglitz  pubiceducation  publicschools  citiznship  criticalthinking  whatmatters  toshare  topost 
august 2010 by robertogreco
New Work Flow with Tech - Practical Theory
"I've always just carried my laptop to and from school every day, but with the launch of the iPad, I thought it might be time for a change. The laptop is good enough, but there were starting to be too many times when I wanted more screen real estate, and I found myself really envying my wife's big honking desktop, but the big issue was really that I didn't want files in two places. My laptop was organized to the point where it was pretty much hardwired to my brain. (My knapsack is like that too, but even it is wearing out... some might argue, so's my brain.) With the summer hitting, and with a realization that carrying my laptop and my iPad to and from school every day was really counter-productive, I made the leap."
chrislehmann  ipad  computing  workflow  newutilitybelt  onlinetoolkit  dropbox  mobileme  evernote  googleapps  googledocs  cloud  productibity  portability  iwork  productivity 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Least Restrictive Environment - Practical Theory
"I was thinking about Special Ed concept of Least Restrictive Environment & idea that many of the concepts of special education, such as an IEP, are concepts we should want for every student...

Banning all these devices when there are many kids who can use them wisely & well is not putting kids into the least restrictive environment for their own learning.

Yes, there are some kids who struggle—despite many opportunities to figure how to manage it—to use technology in a classroom without it serving as a distraction. Let's admit that. [some examples & solutions]...Those instances are absolutely the exception, not the rule. (In talking w/ colleagues, I'd say that cell phone misuse is much lower at SLA than it is at schools that theoretically ban their existence.)...

But banning their use or locking up every laptop would hamstring so much of what we do, & it would not be, for the overwhelming majority of students, the least restrictive environment in which they could—& do—learn."
chrislehmann  specialed  leastrestrictiveenvironment  cellphones  mobile  phones  laptops  filtering  learning  empowerment  tcsnmy  individualized  teaching  schools  policy  blanketpolicies  restrictthemallforthedifficultiesoffew  millennials  technology  theyrealldifferentbutweshouldtreatthemthesame  ieps  digital 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Constructing Modern Knowledge Reflections - Practical Theory
"luxurious learning enviro=time, resources, permission to play & learn, talk to one another...read, listen, build...we didn't have schedule, we had appointments... ...many ways to learn & lecture can/should be part of good progressive teacher's toolkit...trick is knowing when, what, how long & how you will help students construct meaning from it... we underestimate how complex work we give can be...one pitfall of problem/project-based learning for kids. When there isn't recipe/obvious sequence, roadblocks can feel insurmountable...kids get stuck...not because they don't want to do them, but because they reach stumbling blocks they cannot solve...why teaching "gumption", process & problem solving is so important...as teachers, patience, understanding & flexibility are necessary... utter need for us to honor/assess process. Not every project gets to finish line, teachers can make mistake of not giving a lot of credit for unfinished work"
unconferences  cmk  conferences  chrislehmann  deborahmeier  progressive  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  learning  understanding  gumption  problemsolving  process  projectbasedlearning  projects  tinkering  assessment  acknowledgement  schooldesign  unschooling  deschooling  proceesoverproduct  play  meaning  2010  obstacles  patience  flexibility  complexity  lcproject  pbl 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Would You Take Finland?
"RE: Evolution or Revolution [http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1247-Evolution-or-Revolution...-or-something-else.html ], I think the question to ask is, "Would you take Finland's educational (and child welfare) system?" And if the answer is yes, then let's just do that. Finland's change from mediocrity to excellence was evolutionary. If you don't want that, the burden of proof is entirely on the side of doing something more difficult, untested and "revolutionary" than what Finland did."
education  policy  revolution  finland  schools  learning  social  childwelfare  tomhoffman  chrislehmann  us  publicschools 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Evolution or Revolution... or something else - Practical Theory
"perhaps we don't have word we need. Because even "evolution" suggests natural progression, & that's not what I'm calling for. I want to see us change, grow, evolve, so that all kids can have schools they need. But I also want adults to be smart & wise & kind in desire & quest for that change. I want them to be respectful & understanding of how difficult that change is. I want them to celebrate the incremental changes those around them make while never stopping to work for greater change. & I want the (r)evolution to be done in a way so that it doesn't require proverbial bloodshed, & I want it done in a way that does take the best of what we have been, the best of what we are... & marries to the the potential of what we can be.

I don't know that "revolution" gets us there...I think we we're trying to do might be harder than that. But...if we strive for this kind of purposeful evolutionary change, we might get there in a way that is healthiest & sustaining for all involved."
chrislehmann  change  revolution  evolution  schools  policy  education  us  words  definitions  respect  tcsnmy  2010  comments 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Why School? - Practical Theory
"One of my frustrations right now is what I feel is a thin and destructive dialogue about public education in our country. Much of the dialogue is from a deficit model -- "How do we fix broken schools?" -- without ever recognizing the incredible work that happens in schools all over the country every day. Worse, the "fix" that is being advocated is often more reductive than what we currently offer - a focus on tested subjects, a focus on "work-ready" skills that ignores the civic needs of a nation. We look to the edu-capitalists to solve our problem at a time when, dare we suggest, the morality of the market should not be the model for school."
chrislehmann  education  mikerose  whyschool  books  policy  toread  markets  civics  tcsnmy  publicschools  debate  2010  morality  deficitmodel 
july 2010 by robertogreco
What makes a great teacher? - Practical Theory [An old post of his that Chris Lehmann pointed out on Twitter. All still holds true seven years on.]
1) Passion for teaching... 2) Love of kids... 3) Love of their subject... 4) Understand of the role of a school in a child's life... 5) A willingness to change... 6) A work-ethic that doesn't quit... 7) A willingness to reflect. 8) Organization... 9) Understanding that being a "great teacher" is a constant struggle to always improve... 10) Enough ego to survive the hard days. 11) Enough humility to remember it's not about you. It's about the kids... 12) A willingness to work collaboratively."

[All described more fully in the post.]
chrislehmann  humility  teaching  tcsnmy  2003  howto  hiring  professionalism  change  reflection  organization  passion  cv  work  collaboration 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Education Week: Small Schools Still In Flux
"But the results have been mixed, national and local research shows. Students at small high schools were more likely to graduate, have positive relationships with their teachers, and feel safer. Still, they did no better on standardized tests than did their peers at big schools.

In Philadelphia, where 26 of the 32 small high schools have been opened or made smaller in the last seven years, some schools have thrived. Their presence has transformed the high school mix...

Linda Darling-Hammond, an education professor at Stanford University who has done extensive research on small schools, said the movement was "still pretty vibrant," albeit more focused on small learning communities these days.

Small learning communities can work, Darling-Hammond said, but only if they have "a common group of teachers and a common group of students working on a common intellectual agenda.""
education  smallschools  small  lindadarling-hammond  chrislehmann  schools  philadelphia  tcsnmy 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Growing the Movement - Practical Theory
"let's start 1,000 EduCons all over country...network the events...aggregate ideas. And, in the words of Arlo Guthrie, "Friends, they may call it a movement."
change  chrislehmann  database  education  educon  technology  web2.0  unconferences  todo  conferences  networking  teaching  schools  gamechanging  tcsnmy  lcproject 
june 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: "Invisible Technology"?
"So, even if I can not actually read alphabetical text, it really helps to know how it works. Even I can't subtract a 2-digit number from a 2-digit number on paper (and I typically cannot), it helps me to have an idea of how that happens. And even if you are not a computer programmer it would help if you could see the file system on the iPad, so you might grow up to be the kind of person who could design a better file system.

Thus I don't want technology to be invisible at all, especially not in schools. Right now we spend years teaching kids about the functional technologies of our past, and, whether we continue that or not, we need to teach them something about the functional technologies of their future.

Remember, "invisible" is "unknown." And "unknown" can not really be our goal in education, can it?"
irasocol  technology  edtech  schools  education  tcsnmy  chrislehmann  invisibility 
april 2010 by robertogreco
What is the agenda? - Practical Theory
"I think the Race to the Top push to expand charter law is only a first step. I think we're going to see a federal push for vouchers before the end of the Obama administration. ...

There is a lot of money and power lining up behind voucher programs, and make no mistake, vouchers will mark the end of public schools as the hallmark of the American democratic experiment.

And here's the thing... if this is what Obama and Duncan want, why aren't they saying so?"
chrislehmann  publicschools  us  polic  barackobama  vouchers  money  policy  politics  arneduncan 
february 2010 by robertogreco
EduCon 2.2 Reflections - What Do You Think? - Practical Theory
"Caring about our students is about listening to them. About learning about them -- from them. It is, as I've written before, about understanding that if we hope to be a transformative figure in their lives, we must be willing to be transformed ourselves.

And that starts with a question -- "What do you think?" and then listening, fully and deeply, to their answer. That is the ethic of care made manifest in the inquiry process."
caring  teaching  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  process  listening  schools  tcsnmy  sla  chrislehmann  deschooling  unschooling  modeling  education  learning 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Educational Insanity » The Logic of “Our” Arguments
"In sum, then, I think “we” are putting broken carts before the horses. “We” are concentrating too much on the “why change” argument without first fully and clearly articulating what it is “we” want from schools. Furthermore, the “why change” arguments, I argue (meta?), are fundamentally flawed. [The “Digital Natives” Argument, The Economics Argument, The Business Argument] There are lots of reasons for the institution of schooling to be transformed. Likewise, there are lots of reasons to consider the affordances of ubiquitous computing for learning. I ask you to help me think through those reasons in ways that are well-informed and logical…especially those of you with whom I hope to have fully maximized face-to-face experiences this weekend at Educon. I look forward to deliberating with many of you there!"
digitalnatives  edtech  education  change  reform  tcsnmy  purpose  technology  engagement  democracy  sla  chrislehmann  educon  learning  logic  jonbecker  richardflorida 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Slowness, Wisdom and Change - Practical Theory
"I worry that we are losing wisdom. Wisdom is a funny thing, because it isn't something you are born with, and it isn't something you can acquire quickly and easily. It is hard-fought, path paved with mistakes and regret and reflection. Those folks who acquire the term "Wise Beyond Their Years" often have had to get there the hard way. ... Let us be clear, the problems facing schools are serious, and they demand that we work diligently and quickly to make our schools better.

But let us be wise in our changes. Let us listen to the people who must enact the changes. Let us consider what we do and how well we can do it. Let us not demonize those who oppose is by turning their arguments into strawmen. Let us, instead, do things wisely and well. If for no other reason than we want our students to do so as well. If that means that we must slow down to listen, to reflect, to come to consensus, so be it. Better we make the wise decision than the expedient one."

[more at: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2010/01/wisdom-were-losing.html ]
wisdom  education  chrislehmann  generations  schools  policy  tedsizer  deborahmeier  change  reform  slow 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Difficult Conversations - Practical Theory
"So we do the best we can, we get council from trusted colleagues, and we work with kids, and we work with families. And then we reflect on our decisions and try to figure out how to be better tomorrow than we were today. As a principal, there are days when I wish there was some handbook, some great big chart with an X and Y axis of issues and severity, so that I could follow the lines and figure out exactly what I was supposed to do, but of course, there isn't, and there can't be, because those kind of proscriptive rules never come with nuance, and short of the situations of mandatory reporting, those moments always contain nuance.

For me, the answer is to never fall in love with my answer... to always question... to always wonder... to always reflect... and to always remain self-critical. I say all the time that we should be humbled before the enormity of what we are trying to do."
chrislehmann  education  teaching  administration  leadership  parenting  nuance  tcsnmy  reflection  cv  learning  change  adaptability  humility 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Engagement v. Empowerment -- Some Early Thoughts... - Practical Theory
"Empowerment feels better to me. It, in the end, is the word -- the idea -- that sets us up for a more student-centered classroom because it is about what the students get from the experience once the class is done, not what happens during the class. It also allows us to do away with the notion that the classroom is always fun. It's not. ... And that's what we want in our classes. It's o.k. if there are days when the work that kids do feels like work. We have to be o.k. with that. And we have to understand that school is work... but that it can be meaningful, powerful, empowering (and even engaging) work. And that the work we do together in school means that kids can apply that work to their own lives in ways they see fit and that allow them to thrive."
chrislehmann  education  teaching  student-centered  learning  schools  engagement  empowerment  tcsnmy  cv  work  meaning 
december 2009 by robertogreco
NASSP - Shifting Ground
"Those of us who work in education talk a lot about student engagement, but I don’t think that goes far enough. Engagement is certainly better than boredom, but schools should set the bar for themselves is much higher. What schools should strive for is student empowerment."
chrislehmann  21stcenturyskills  leadership  education  technology  emowerment  engagement  teaching  curriculum  tcsnmy 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Engaged and Enraged -- Thinking about Marc Prensky's Ideas - Practical Theory
"it's not just that we need to play games in class...Instead, we need to create meaningful, relevant curriculum that allows students sufficient opportunities to really step up & take ownership. We need to use tools that every other aspect of our society & update our schools & our classrooms. But let's also be sure. We can do all of this. We can make our schools inviting, progressive, technology-rich schools, & there will still be kids who refuse to engage or simply push buttons & press boundaries, even with a curriculum full of new ideas. There is no panacea in education, & some kids will struggle simply because, on a nice spring day, they'd rather be outside too. Or on the internet, or playing games...We have to keep working w/ them to understand their role in their own learning process. We have to make explicit the steps we would take to them to create an engagement classroom & assigments, but then we also have to make sure they are willing to interalize those lessons as well."
chrislehmann  marcprensky  engagement  work  progressive  schools  learning  education  games  gaming  empowerment  teaching  tcsnmy 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Core Standards - Sound Bites and Standardization - Practical Theory
"There are plenty of reasons to question this movement, but here's the scariest part for me. This Core Standards movement should scare everyone who believes that meaning and learning is still most powerfully made in the spaces that students and teachers share. More than teachers, students, state administrators, the group that stands most to gain from national standards and a national test is the education-industrial complex. ... It has the risk of the ultimate deprofessionalization of teachers and depersonalization of education.

There are billions of dollars at stake on these standards and the money and the access to power is on the side of the folks who want to create the standards and the tests that assess them, and the avenues available to teachers and parents (unions, PTAs, etc...) have largely been asleep at the switch. This is a movement that will profoundly change how schools are run and governed and profoundly change the way students will learn."
corestandards  chrislehmann  education  policy  money  politics  teaching  learning  schools  publicschools  us 
october 2009 by robertogreco
The Other Thirteen - Practical Theory
"How different would current ed conversation be if KIPP folks said, "Yes...in some of our schools, 25-40% of families choose to leave, but KIPP isn't for everyone & for students who stay, we do right by them?"...admitted it would be much harder to have success if they didn't have traditional schools to send kids back to when it didn't work out?...didn't have all the answers...do amazing things for many students, but haven't figured out how to get to significant % of population? Why isn't that the dialogue? Because it's not as easy to raise millions of $ on "We're figuring it out too?"...why are Jay Matthews, NYTimes...& so many others so willing to promote a myth?...it's easier...if we could only believe that we could solve all problems of educating students in poverty with charismatic school leaders & hard working teachers...all kids who don't get education they need are simply being underserved by lazy teachers...would absolve our society for not being more just, equitable, fair."
education  kipp  policy  inequity  justice  society  learning  schools  reform  politics  jaymatthews  chrislehmann  publicschools  us 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Presentation to the FCC National Broadband Planning Workshop - Practical Theory
"I think the scariest thing about today is -- as I listened to the speakers -- there is a growing movement in America to give up on schools. If we as educators want to be a part of the coming conversation about what learning looks like, we must offer a compelling vision of what schools can be. We must be willing to examine our own practice and be willing to change. And we must engage parents and students in the conversation, because if we don't, the "education economy" will end up recreating schools in a way that, in my opinion, will leave us good at training, but poor at learning. Jim Shelton said in his remarks today, "There are businesses that want this market, so they will create opportunities for kids." That's not the vision of education I have for my children, and it's not the vision of education I have for the students in my charge."
chrislehmann  policy  politics  money  economics  schools  publicschools  privatization  change  reform  technology  learning  education  administration  leadership  pedagogy  teaching  21stcentury  edtech  web2.0  innovation 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Inversions - Practical Theory [see also coversation in the comments]
"I've been thinking a lot about math class. How many students would learn math more efficiently if they could watch math videos, narrated by a teacher with problems done "on the board" as they watched with multiple examples of concepts (think geometry here, as an example) that speak to different learning modalities.

So what of class, then?

Then, class, rather than being a time when all kids sat and received the instruction, could be the time when they reinforce skills by doing problem sets, worked on real-world application projects, collaborated with teachers to reinforce concepts, etc... in some ways, it's an inversion of what we traditionally think of as a math class. Right now, in traditional classrooms, class is where the teacher demonstrates concepts (often with some time for individual reinforcement and work), but the bulk of application / practice / etc... is done at home where there isn't much chance for help."
math  teaching  inversion  instruction  classtime  tcsnmy  chrislehmann  education  learning  video 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Sustainability, Media and Urban Schools - Practical Theory
"We have to come up with a better model of urban school reform than the messianic workaholic model. It is unsustainable and it requires Faustian bargains that no one should have to make. The danger of KIPP... the danger of Dangerous Minds and Stand And Deliver and all the newspaper articles that talk about the unmarried / childless teacher / principal who makes their school their entire life is that it excuses us -- as a society -- from envisioning a healthier model of school.

If we expect teachers to have an ethic of care about our students, we have to have an ethic of care about toward our educators. Asking them to sacrifice their lives to teach doesn't get us there. And it certainly doesn't get us toward systemic reform."
schools  teaching  balance  workaholics  administration  society  urban  education  policy  brokensystems  broken  chrislehmann  sustainability 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Personal Paradigm Shifts - Practical Theory
""Up until now, you've had a lot of success on the faculty being a passionate advocate for your own ideas. Now, your job is to support other people's ideas." That was a shift. There's no question that being a principal -- especially a founding principal -- means having a vision and being able to articulate it passionately and powerfully, but after that, unless you want every idea to come out of your office, you really do need to be able to step back and let others inhabit that vision -- sometimes (even often) in ways you have never thought of."
chrislehmann  teaching  administration  management  leadership 
may 2009 by robertogreco
A Thought For Tonight... - Practical Theory
"As we all rush to change the world, and as we hear more and more about a sense of urgency to change our schools, let us remember that what we don't know... about our kids, about learning, about what lies ahead of us... vastly outweighs that which know."

[So nice to hear other educators admit this too.]
education  learning  humility  listening  teaching  change  reform  policy  schools  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  chrislehmann  ignorance  knowledge  truth  unscience 
february 2009 by robertogreco
A Broader, BOLDER Approach to Education | BoldApproach.org
"Nevertheless, there is solid evidence that policies aimed directly at education-related social and economic disadvantages can improve school performance and student achievement. The persistent failure of policymakers to act on that evidence — in tandem with a schools-only approach — is a major reason why the association between disadvantage and low student achievement remains so strong."
education  schools  politics  economics  policy  inequality  chrislehmann  boldapproach  performance  reform  nclb  disparity  society  poverty  us  government  research  rights 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Expectations of Student Behavior - Practical Theory
"One of the things that never seems to amaze me is when I talk to teachers and hear them talk about holding students to standards of behavior and work that they would never hold themselves. Ask yourself, in your school, does the teachers with the most draconian lateness policy often show up late to meetings? Does the teacher who makes a big deal about food in the classroom often leave trash all over the faculty room? Do the teachers who have the strictest policies often resist any administrative policies? And how many of us have made it through an hour-long PD session without passing a note or sending an email or daydreaming? And yet, so many schools expect kids to do so five, six, seven times a day. (And how many people -- aside from teachers -- go home from work and then work another three hours at home? And yet, we expect kids to do that every day...)"
teaching  students  policy  behavior  hypocrisy  education  schools  homework  leadership  chrislehmann  tcsnmy 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Where Does It Live? - Practical Theory
"So I have an idea -- whenever we hear or read schools or districts or teachers or administrators make a claim that their school / district / PD session / whatever is about "21st Century Learning" or "Life-Long Learning" or "Project-Based Learning" or whatever claim we may see or read, our first question should be -- "Where Does it Live?""
chrislehmann  substance  schools  leadership  tcsnmy  administration  management  truth  missionstatements  authenticity 
november 2008 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Blog Archive » Wherever You Can Find It
"The idea that schools are only about the kids is a problem because, as much as I am a proponent of student-centered learning, we have to do a better job of taking care of the adults because we are losing too many of our best young teachers. And we’re not losing them because they don’t like the job, we’re losing them because we aren’t creating pathways for them to feel good about their job without it coming at incredibly high cost." - Chri Lehmann
teaching  careers  danmeyer  chrislehmann  burnout  education  administration  leadership  management 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Sunday Morning Thoughts -- Sustainability - Practical Theory
"I want to celebrate every teacher who has made this job a calling...But my concern is that this nation thinks that building an entire system around martyrdom is the way to go - if you aren't spending 80 hrs/week & 1000s of your own $, you can't be an effective Title I school teacher. (it's not THAT much better in wealthier districts.) We cannot build a national system on idea that KIPP & TFA and 60-70 hour work week is acceptable. It's not...Every time we see a teacher celebrated for their Herculean efforts, let's all be sure to ask the following questions: * What can be done to support and sustain you? * How can we change the system that more people can be as successful as you? * How can we create schools where it does not require Herculean efforts to be a successful teacher?"
education  schools  chrislehmann  teaching  learning  policy  us  time  money  work  success  reform  martyrdom  change  gamechanging  burnout  administration  leadership  management  sustainability  tcsnmy  cv 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Recruiting Teachers - Practical Theory
"Over the past few years, many administrators have asked me how SLA has such an incredible faculty, and while I think there are many reasons, not the least of which are the colleagues that you get to work with and the edu-blogger network that has made SLA more well-known than the average high school, I do think there are some things we do are replicable for schools that are looking to both get more candidates for teaching positions and find teachers more aligned with their school's philosophy in their candidate pool."
chrislehmann  hiring  leadership  teaching  schools  management  administration  howto 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Progressive Pedagogy and 21st Century Learning - Practical Theory
"This was a way to teach folks about Understanding by Design and how we use it to create the curriculum at SLA...I wanted this to be something that gave people something concrete but also thoughtful that they could take away and use. Practical theory, if
chrislehmann  understandingbydesign  learning  teaching  projectbasedlearning  education  assessment  pbl 
july 2008 by robertogreco
edublogs: Lehmann's Philly: the same, but different.
"Desired results...Learning objectives...Understandings...Essential Questions...Skills and Content...If, after a period of learning, you assess by giving out a test, you are not doing project-based learning."
chrislehmann  understandingbydesign  learning  teaching  projectbasedlearning  education  assessment  pbl 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Chasing False Gods - Practical Theory
"what we want to create in schools...places of true meaning. I worry...looking at amazing tools as tricks...engaging and fun without...meaningful learning...mistake engaging & entertaining...amuse ourselves & kids w/out getting down to meaningful work."
education  schools  chrislehmann  learning  work  meaning  leadership  teaching  students  edutainment  technology  curriculum  focus  distraction  entertainment  society  deschooling  consumerism  parenting  gamechanging  lcproject 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Show Me What You Believe - Practical Theory
"mission statements are meaningless unless people can point to where the pieces of their mission statement live in their school...key places to look to see what schools really value: schedule, curriculum planning/professional development, assessment"
administration  management  schools  missionstatements  professionaldevelopment  schedule  chrislehmann  sla  curriculum  assessment  learning  leadership 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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