Change – Redesign – Rethinking Schools

I recently had the opportunity to present to three sessions of high school students who indicated that they might want to be teachers. Close to 80 high school students 5 young men and 75 young women (that’s something to be explored another time) shared a few of their thoughts about why they wanted to be teachers. I invited them to think about the classroom they would work in, the students they would work with and the difference, positive or negative they might be in those lives.

I also found myself pondering this in the process, I started teaching in the fall of 1985 Grade 9 Social Studies and English, I remember many of those students the band stream kids and the “Alternate” class on stream for a high school experience many of them in targeted for the “integrated occupations program” rather than the high school diploma program. 31 years later I feel like a lot has changed but then no, not so much or certainly not as much as perhaps things need to change.

My granddaughter started kindergarten this year and appears to be enjoying every minute…she will graduate in the spring of 2029 what will her learning be like? Her classrooms, her instruction models, her assessment models? How will they be tailored to her specific needs? My other grandchildren are each very different just as the student I taught and coached in my life were, and are individuals but did I consider enough their individual needs, will there be room to differentiate enough for them? Is this where technology can truly make a difference?

Those students I visited with, if a 30 year career follows 5 years of education and training will be teaching classes well into the 2050’s – care to guess what their classroom will look like, how classes will operate, instructional and assessment practices? How are we preparing today’s students to adapt?

This image has attained some level of notoriety, doubtful that it was Einstein’s actual words, but then again it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that assessing everyone in the same way does present more than a few problem regardless of the exam.


In fact I’d suggest it provided the basis for this presentation by Prince EA

It’s alright to have a little cognitive dissonance around what we’re doing as educators, parents, students, in this process of learning but it’s not ok to continue down a path built on an industrial model that is highly unlikely to meet the needs of students who will be expected to lead our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in the course of their own careers as educators.

All teachers and all education systems in the world make a difference…how would I explain the difference I’ve made?  How would you?