20 December 2006

Remaking Education

This is a good day for signs about the winds of education shifting ……

Recently, National Public Radio (NPR) posted an interview/review of a study completed by a nonpartisan group in assessing high school graduation and the trends of continuing education. One thing I learned by listening is that only 18 of 100 graduating high school students in USA will complete a college or university degree within 6 years. Another learned item is that higher educated people in other countries will work for less money that their peers in the USA. Put those together and down the road … 20-25 years … the USA won’t have a skilled work force, which translates into jobs requiring higher educated folks headed to folks over seas, while our economy gets turned upside down. That left me with something to chew on….. check it out … Education Study: Remake the Public Schools at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6646361

Lisa Suben knows what works and has the guts to do it. She surprised everyone with higher student achievement results when she didn’t follow the school lesson planshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/19/AR2006121900483.html

Another reminder … we do know what works in education…. but are we doing it?

The Learning Cone is so simple ….so relevant to effective teaching. To see an articulated illustration visit http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/agexed/sae/ppt1/sld012.htm. Last time I talked about Project Based Learning and that is exactly what active learning is. Why isn’t there a mandate to use only teaching methods that are effective? Starting in June, 2007 no lesson can be taught without using a proven method that works. The content at school is easy enough to figure out … just look at the curriculum standards laid out by any school district; they will tell you what content teachers will teach.

Why don’t more teachers use effective teaching methods to teach? Am I over simplifying this issue about teaching methods? I don't think so. There are always best practices for what is being undertaken. We will reach consensus on the best driving methods or best methods to maintain an individual’s health ... the best way to plant a garden or the most efficient way to get a rocket into space. Why not identify and mandate specific teaching methods, like those shown in the Learning Cone, that are proven to be most effective?

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