REBEL: Reform IS Happening, One Classroom At A Time
I think that the discourse surrounding educational reform often becomes heated because the language, the intentions and meanings of the common phrases, are still being negotiated through the process of discourse itself. I find that when engaged in talk of reform, others are speaking about systemic change; the need to change the teachers, the physical buildings, the resources, the school boards, the funding, the students, the politics and the overall opinions of society on education. I prefer to focus simply on the process of learning that students are engaged in. The former is a massive undertaking perhaps better left to the politically powerful and ambitious. The latter is doable by me, a teacher, each and every day, in a very tangible way.
Realistically, most of us aren’t going to wake up Monday morning and change the world by Friday at 3:00 pm. What we can achieve during the week is reform for our own classroom practices. In fact this is already happening from the efforts of many individual teachers. As a consultant I see hundreds of individual classrooms through school visits. What I’ve noticed over the past year is; more student collaboration, increased discourse in the classroom (and beyond the classroom using the interactive web), creativity being honoured and encouraged, discovery and inquiry becoming common methods of constructing understandings, problem solving, critical thinking, and a general understanding that knowledge on its own is no longer power, but being able to use it in unique ways is! Phew!
While it is becoming increasingly important to look at possible systemic change in education, we need to start with change in our own classrooms. For many of us, this is already happening. We need to celebrate these individual victories, and use our own classrooms as a model for our schools, our district, our states/provinces, and eventually the entire institution of education.
For more blog posts on educational reform, please see the REBEL Education Reform WallWisher