America spends money on education than most other countries, class sizes are smaller than in many countries, and there are hundreds of initiatives every year to try and improve education- the trouble is, it’s all going in the wrong direction.
There are three principles on which human life flourishes, and they are all contradicted by the culture of education under which teachers have to labor, and most students have to endure.
The first thing is that human beings are naturally different and diverse.. Education under No Child Left Behind is based not on diversity, but conformity. What schools are encouraged to do is to find out what kids can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement… but kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them.
The second principle that drives human life, is curiosity. If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn with out any further assistance, very often. Children are natural learners. Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
I say this, because one of the current cultures here, is to de-professionalize teachers.. but teaching is a creative profession. Teaching, properly conceived is not a delivery system. You’re not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do, is mentor, stimulate, promote, engage. In the end, education is about learning. If there’s no learning going on, there’s no education going on.. The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. That’s it.
What you have here, is a culture of compliance. Our teachers and encouraged to follow routine algorithms, rather than to excite the power of imagination and curiosity.
The third principle is this- human life is inherently creative.. We create our lives through this process of imagining alternatives and possibilities, and one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop these powers of creativity. Instead, what we have is a culture of standardization. The point is, education is not a mechanical system; It’s a human system.
We have to recognize that it’s a human system, and there are conditions under which people thrive, and conditions under which they don’t.
You take an area- a school, a district, and you change the conditions and give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish the relationship between learners and teachers, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life.
The real role of leadership in education is not, and should not, be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control: creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it, and achieve things you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.❞
— Ken Robinson, TED Talks Education: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley (via layersoflife)