Reposted from Roots of Action:
“Instead of a closed, self-sufficient system, schools must see themselves as open systems that engage in learning at the boundaries between families and communities. Peter Senge (2000) said it well, “If I had one wish for all our institutions, and the institution called school in particular, it is that we dedicate ourselves to allowing them to be what they would naturally become, which is human communities, not machines. Living beings who continually ask the questions: Why am I here? What is going on in my world? How might I and we best contribute?”
When we think of schools as learning communities, parents and teachers have the capacity to shift the machine metaphor from the grassroots upward. This is the type of change than cannot be mandated from the top-down or through policies like No Child Left Behind. In fact, research shows that partnerships based on relationships, connectedness, and flexibility hold the keys to understanding how to increase student learning and motivation.
What does this paradigm shift mean to families and schools? While parents and teachers have unique skills and expertise, no one is a single expert. We are all learners. We come together for the shared goal of educating the whole child. In many ways, we are what Etienne Wenger (2002) calls communities of practice, “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their understanding and knowledge of this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.” What brings families and schools together is a passion for children and education.”
Reposted from EdTech Digest:
“Our current educational system is impervious to much needed improvement. And an alternative system—a revolution in thought, practice, and outcome of the truest sense—is desperately needed. An educational revolution that I once dismissed as unnecessary but, given the facts, now think is mandated, vital, and inevitable. But the inevitable revolution won’t occur without rebels.
I hereby declare myself an education rebel who will no longer work to save the educational system for which I’ve long toiled. Further, I vow to work to create, nurture, and give voice to an educational alternative that employs proven educational practices—real and individualized differentiated instruction, real and serious engagement of parents, ubiquitous access to information for all, and consistent and relevant feedback about performance—that will produce aptitude-defying-levels of learning among all students.
I will work for new paradigm schools and technological tools. I make this declaration knowing full well that being a rebel will be lots of work because lots of vested interests will work just as hard to maintain the dysfunctional status quo.”
The crux of the pivotal paradigm shift to which we constantly refer comes down to this: questions, not answers. Once you make the shift to this new pedagogy, everything else will shift with you. And once you start asking questions, those around you will feel the ripple effect and begin asking too. We may not see where those ripples end, but we will have helped make the shift simply in how we look at and discuss education. If your reference point is still within four walls, break them down by asking what you can find beyond. There is no more “outside the box.” Standardization, identifying acceptable answers, is dead. Innovation, seeking new answers, is the new norm.