Are You A Whole Teacher? A Self-Assessment To Understand

wholeteacher

Reposted from Teachthought:

Whole Child Learning is a thing; Whole Teaching should be a thing too, no? Here at TeachThought, Jackie Gerstein’s usergeneratededucation is at the top of our reading list, in large part for her thinking about the human side of formal education. Much of our content–that is, the content here at TeachThought, and that on her site–overlaps because of our shared perspective on teaching and learning: self-directed learning, the role of play in learning, the idea of citizenship, student-centered learning (and student-centered teaching), and more.

We’ve also long been interested in the work of Costa and Kallick with the Habits of Mind (See What Are The Habits Of Mind? and 16 Strategies For Integrating The Habits Of Mind) as wonderful supplements to an academic curriculum. More and more, they’re richness has us wondering if they’re not more important than the “content” itself.

These ideas have pushed us to consider what it is that students really need to know in a modern world, which we’re going to have spend some time this year thinking about. And it is in that whole Habits of Mind/new knowledge demands context comes Jackie’s “Twelve 21st Century Skills & Attributes: Educator Self-Assessment.” Jackie has framed this concept (modern teaching) through 12 characteristics, and again through teacher self-assessment questions for each characteristic. The end result is a shift from academia to people to can supplement standards-based teaching and learning, or replace it altogether if we want to get all progressive and avant garde about it.

Read more…

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We Owe Them Nothing Less…

We Owe Them Nothing Less...

As educators, we work to develop each child’s full potential; the whole child. Why should school districts, government agencies and society as a whole sustain a public institution that provides for anything less? It’s time to give up cultural contradictions and the convenience of conundrums and make deliberate and strategic choices in the name of each child being educated as a whole child. Children are not born obsolescent. They’re resilient, full of hopes and dreams and promise. We owe them nothing less.

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This is the Age of Abundance

This is the Age of Abundance

This is a new era where there is a wealth of information, ideas and possibilities. The idea of a standard education for every child is outdated and obsolete. Children, on the other hand, need the tools and skills necessary to be relevant and engaged in the work of this new age. One size does not fit all. Individualization, personalization and many paths to success…many paths to the future…are the promise of today. Work, speak and act to support the whole child!

No Planned Obsolescence in Education

We are a nation of makers and consumers. And in this free market culture, value is king and the art of the bargain is most prized. It’s a conundrum: you get what you pay for, but no one wants to pay full price. In every transaction, let the buyer beware!

So let me ask you this. Would you sink money into a car without dashboard displays? Would you buy a house with no electrical wiring or plumbing? How about a mobile device with no wireless capability? Yes I know; ridiculous examples. But follow me here…

How about schools? Would you build facilities for learning today that are not conducive to the kinds of learning that children need to be successful tomorrow? How about buildings that are already over capacity before the doors open for the first day? How about building schools that account for all the bricks, mortar and furniture but treat technology as a one-shot-deal afterthought? Not so ridiculous, is it? Let’s take this a step further…

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What about instruction itself? Would taxpayers pay for a school program that only targets certain subjects? Would they send their children to schools where every decision is driven by norm-referenced achievement scores? Would any community support a public school education that did not include the arts, physical education and health? How about one-size-fits-all instruction that does not meet each learner at their current levels of development and ability? Not quite so far-fetched, is it?

Community by community, we make a lot of compromises when it comes to public education, usually in the name of saving dollars. You know, being good stewards of the public trust. It’s another conundrum: we talk the bottom line, but we spend more money on education than any other nation. And we cut corners everywhere.

My point? If we drive a hard bargain to buy a whole car, and we pay an independent inspector to ensure we buy a whole house, and we talk to lots of people before we invest in the right mobile device, why don’t we make very sure that we educate the whole child? I mean, we’re talking about our future here. I know cars and houses and mobile devices are all predestined for obsolescence. But when it comes to education, should we be looking at our children the same way?

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Education is not just human cognition. It’s about preparing children for their future as well-adjusted global citizens: mentally, emotionally, socially, physically and personally. They need to feel safe, healthy, supported, engaged and challenged. They need to feel and be connected to peers, teachers, staff, volunteers: the community as a whole. In my humble opinion, if all children felt connected within their communities, there would be a lot less disaffected, disenfranchised, destructive behavior making the news these days.

And educating the whole child is not cost intensive; it simply requires making shifts in the allocation of the resources we have, from our instructional priorities to the community agencies that support children and families. Integrate all of our community programs, people and services within the total school program. Of course, that means we’d have to iron out the kinds of contradictions in cultural priorities I’ve referenced herein.

As educators, we work to develop each child’s full potential; the whole child. Why should school districts, government agencies and society as a whole sustain a public institution that provides for anything less? It’s time to give up cultural contradicitons and the convenience of conundrums and make deliberate and strategic choices in the name of each child being educated as a whole child.  Children are not born obsolescent. They’re resilient, full of hopes and dreams and promise. We owe them nothing less.

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More than a century ago, Oscar Wilde famously observed, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” In an age of abundance, it’s time to shake off the resigned legacy of planned obsolescence, especially when it comes to our children and their future. Work, speak and act to support the whole child.

Choosing Your Tomorrow Today

Video: An excellent discussion on next steps in choosing
our future from the Whole Child Live Symposium.

http://bcove.me/whdbwn9y

The Panel

The Panel, (l-r): Yong Zhao, Karen Pittman, Charles Haynes, Gene Carter, David Osher

See more video from the Symposium at 
http://www.ascd.org/conferences/whole-child-symposium/live.aspx