Corner Stones

The main lesson from Finland is that there is another way to transform current education systems than that based on standardization, testing, accountability and competition. Finland also shows that we don’t need to rely on corporate school reform models to achieve our goals. Finnish lesson is that good policies and overall well-being of people, including poverty reduction, are the corner stones of sustainable educational success.

This passage says a lot.

(from: What Can the U.S. Learn from Educational Change in Finland? (Pasi Sahlberg) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice)

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Learning is about People

The real value of education is not really what we learn; it’s how we learn – which involves the effort and process that goes into the act of learning itself.   No matter how many new digital tools come out, the common denominator is still people.  And it will always be people.  The new collaboration revolution in education technology places people squarely at the center of the equation, making it easier to connect and produce solid results.

(Digital Classrooms: Is The Investment Paying Off? – Forbes)

I saw this on George Couros’ Posterous space and went to the article. A good one, this passage speaks volumes. It reminds me of a quote by Arthur C. Clarke, that goes something like; “If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, he/she should be.” I actually used that in a class discussion with my pre-service teachers a few days ago. In some ways it is about the technology, but it is always about people, human interactions are at the core of learning. Read the entire article at Forbes (follow the link). What do you think?

Ed Reform?

It’s not so much about tools and technologies as it is about that learning thing. To be honest, I think we’ve all got to stop cranking out blog posts and Tweets that tout new tools and the “10 Best Ways…” and instead begin to make the case in our blogs and in person that technology or not, this is about what is best for our kids. That in this moment, 20th Century rules will not work for 21st Century schools. That direct instruction and standardization will make us less competitive, not more.

A thought provoking post by Will Richardson (“My Teacher is an App”) about the state of education reform in the US (it applies to us too!). This excerpt is part of Richardson’s advice, but you should read the entire post to fully appreciate it. Educators need to resist the corporatization of education – what do you think?

Bullying

I think that it’s outright dangerous to get so lost in our mission to combat bullying that we stop looking into the mirror. What are the norms that we set for young people when we talk poorly about our friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues at the dinner table? When we engage in road rage while driving? Why is it that we accept – if not encourage – meanness in our political sparring? Or on our TV talk shows? Why do marketers put their money behind reality TV shows that propagate the value of relationship drama as entertainment? Look around at the society we’ve created and it’s filled with harshness. To top it off, look at how much we pressure our youth, particularly middle class youth. Hyper-competition starts early and is non-stop.

An excerpt from: danah boyd | apophenia » Four Difficult Questions Regarding Bullying and Youth Suicide. danah’s comments about adults, behaviour and modeling are important to consider – and act on. What do you think? Read the entire post, and if you do not follow danah’s blog, well, you should.

Ideas for Reforming Teaching Practices?

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… the provenance of reform ideas can be found in the daily experiences of sitting in classroom many years ago. And those ideas, as Mary Kennedy reminds us, are distorted because children are emotionally involved with their teachers and  know little about the planning, the improvisational decision-making during lessons, and work outside of school that teachers do.

From a post by Larry Cuban in which he describes where ‘education reformers’ often get their ideas and data – as the old adage goes, everyone is an expert on schools because they went. Yet being in a classroom (at any level) does not tell the entire story as Cuban suggests. The comments to this post are also interesting.