So many conversations with so many people. This needs to change. That should be like this. Everyone of the ideas I have read about, discussed or debated have been outstanding in their own right. How do we go from conversations to real time change?
Well if you look at versions of change theory, the first action is to create the need for change. Create an urgency if you will. Why would a school board, district staff want to make changes unless they saw a reason for that change. Why would a province, for that matter, look at curricular change if what they were doing seemed to be working. This is easy enough to do on a small scale (i.e. stop sending paper memos to staff and only provide critical information on email to help staff move to using email on a daily basis).
How do we initiate large scale change?
For practical reasons, let's start by looking at the public school calendar and schedule. In our province the majority of schools are open September - June with 2 weeks off for Christmas, a week off in the spring and 2 months off for summer. This schedule hearkens back to a society where agricultural needs took priority over urban needs. Children were needed to help with the harvest. Most schools schedules can trace their origins back to allowing children to do their farm chores in the morning before getting to school and then home in time to help with the farm chores after school.
This does not come anywhere near the current societal needs. Many families now have two working parents desperate for caregivers who can watch their children from 7am-6pm. The pressure on our school system and day care system is daunting. Can we find a way to partner all the current players that raise our children. The axiom that it takes a community to raise a child has never applied more than in today's context.
Public schools, parks and rec., musical theatre companies, sports organizations, art schools, private businesses, and trades organizations should all be working together to provide a smorgasbord of opportunities for our students. Not just at the high school level, but all the way down to early childhood education. In addition, we should be working with employers to encourage parental involvement in their child's learning and the parents should be learning along side their child. It would take a complete societal paradigm shift. "School" would no longer be the industrial revolution based institution that churns out a work force. It would become the experiences that teach children to be productive citizens.
The schedule of schooling would differentiate for each child. Parents would be able to expose their children to the entire matrix of opportunities. You would have to integrate teacher shifts, experts coming in to teach, field experiences. You would have to be an incredibly creative accountant. You would have to have the political will to prioritize the education of our children. Private/public partnerships would have to be entered into so that funding would not be a crippling barrier. School facilities would be used year round from early morning into the evening. It would all be integrated. The teachers would become facilitators of educational experiences. They would ensure that children were meeting a required set of opportunities. They would be charged with ongoing parent communication where descriptive feedback would be the norm. There would be no marks or structures of comparisons needed. Our "system" would get onto the edge of learning for each child. Parents would have to be more involved in their child's education. Employers would have to be prepared to incorporate their employees having to schedule their work day around being involved in their child's educational experiences.
Collaborative technology would have to play a major role in making this a reality.
It would take a societal paradigm shift.
Is this overwhelming?
Where is this happening?
Where do you start such a large scale change?
Why is the current education system like a giant elastic band. You can stretch it a long way but it always eventually springs back to its original shape. How do you snap the elastic band?
Your thoughts are encouraged.