Educational Dissonance and the Echo Chamber

I have been so excited over the past six months to have found so many educators who believe many of the same things that I do. It is heartening to know that there are many that agree education needs to change dramatically! The system needs to move away from the early 20th Century model where information was king and student compliance was essential, to a model where technology is ubiquitous, the information is simply the stuff we work with and the methodology is student centered. After listening to Jeff Jarvis at TEDxNYED, I am convinced that many schools are about to go the way of the newspaper! So why do I title this blog “Educational Dissonance and the Echo Chamber” you ask? The dissonance I feel is coming from the direction of national education policy (primarily NCLB and RttT) that stresses student achievement as measured by high stakes, once a year testing, which emphasizes information and keeps it the focus of the schooling of our children. Schooling is much different than educating. Information is important, but the emphasis should be more about using information to evaluate, collaborate, and create! Those skills and events are much harder to assess and compile, yet if we do not attempt to move past what we have been doing for the past half century our fate will be irrelevance! Firing entire staffs in hard to staff poor urban schools is not the answer. Teaching to a one time high stakes test is not the answer! Are there things that need to change? YES! But devaluing and demoralizing the educators is not the way to bring about change! So, where does the echo chamber come in? Part of it comes from me and my statements about the need for change without enough action to satisfy the needs. Partially from the folks who say “what we do now is o.k. It has worked for years, who says it is broke.” Finally it comes in part from the constant chatter about change and the relatively (at least in my perception) little action I have observed in the schools I am aware of. There are pockets of progressive change, but the world is changing so fast and we are not keeping up. What will happen if we simply sit back and wait to see what happens? I don’t want to find out, how about you?

3 Comments

  1. Dave – I am with you. In fact, I feel guilty of a lot more talking than actual doing. I am hoping that this year will be different and we will be able to chronicle some of the changes happening here at BHS. As you describe, we are falling further behind the real world each day. We owe it to our students to get them up to speed!

    August 19, 2010
    Reply
    • Dave Meister said:

      Patrick,

      I am set on less talk and more action myself this year. Change is hard work! Talking is much easier. We need to continue to support each other and help each other engage our staffs and bring parents into the movement to make our schools the best they can be. Thanks for the comment!

      August 20, 2010
      Reply
  2. David Truss said:

    I love the line: “what we do now is o.k. It has worked for years, who says it is broke.” Imagine a doctor saying that as he amputates a leg that could have been saved by modern antibiotics!

    The best part of the changes that I’ve seen are amazing educators sharing what they are doing, and by that I mean concepts and ideas and not photocopies of last year’s lessons. Why is this important? Well, I just wrote a post about this girl that asks ‘How will you un-standardize your classroom? How will you be a change agent in the transformation of schools?’… And the reality is that if you are trying to create changes alone it makes things a lot harder. Fortunately there is an army of ‘digital educators’ that are ready to stand by you, share their resources and experiences, and help make the transformation happen!

    August 21, 2010
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *