I had the pleasure of listening to Chris Lehmann’s Keynote at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference in Manchester, NH this morning. His opening slide (pictured above) was certainly an attention grabber and you can check out his entire presentation here. Here are some of the remarks that I found most meaningful.
“We have incredibly caring teachers in a system that sucks.”
“I have this huge concern that school stinks.”
“If school teaches us nothing else shouldn’t it teach students how to learn. Do we have a systemic process (in each school) that teaches kids how to be to that? become lifelong learners?”
In regards to the question of the focus of schools being Creating Citizens or Creating Workers
“Our job is greater than creating workers it is to help students become citizens. If we shoot for citizens we will get the workers we need. If we shoot for workers we will not get the husbands and wives and parents that we need. If all we teach kids about is being a cog in the machine then we have failed them and we have failed ourselves.”
About the importance of the culture we create in our schools
“Until we make schools healthy places for adults they will never be healthy places for children. We will never bully teachers into caring for kids or becoming better teachers.”
How do we get there?
“The ethic of care should be the first thing in our schools. If you take nothing else away change your language about what you say you teach from I teach math or I teach second grade to I teach kids.”
“Kids can care about their school. We want them to say I went to that school and that matters.”
“The final goal is to have kids that know they are cared about. We want to create students who are thoughtful, passionate, wise and kind.”
We are the ones who can and must make the change!
“No one is coming to save us. We must organize and come up with our own answers. We need to reach out to our students and our parents and empower ourselves.”
“Be willing to be transformed. We cannot transform students if we are not willing to be transformed ourselves.”
Thanks to Chris for the inspirational words and for continually giving other schools something to aspire to! I encourage you to check out his school’s webpage for a concrete example of how Science Leadership Academy is changing the world for its students! I also recommend that you take a few minutes and watch this great profile of SLA from Apple.