Day 12: Dreaming about Learner-Centered Schools by @wrightsroom #12DOD
Editor's note: Wow! I can't believe that it's the final post already! I will have one more recap tomorrow with some final thoughts and some thank you's! I hope all of you can join us tonight (12/20) at 7:30 PM EST for the 1 time #12DOD chat! We will be discussing our hopes and dreams for education and how to make them a reality.
I dream of one day being the administrator of a school that is entirely blended and learner-centred. But more than this, I dream kids will experience this from Kindergarten, through to grade 12. I know this is a reality in a few places, but it’s far from the norm. The average child’s school experiences are drill and kill and stand and deliver, but I digress.
I dream of classrooms that are alive with student conversations, questions, and inquiries, regardless of their age. I dream of learners who are able to craft questions they are curious about and who have the tech ability and network connections to chase them, or teachers who have the know-how and learning network to facilitate the process. Furthermore, I dream of kids who are able to take the outcomes of their curriculum, and decide what they’re going to learn, how they’re going to learn it and how they will show their learning. As part of this, I dream of kids who are able to thoughtfully articulate their thinking, who can evaluate their mistakes and design projects with purpose and impact. I dream of classrooms where teachers and learners share ownership of the learning environment.
I say learner-centred, rather than student-centred, because there’s much more to life than being a student. There’s more to life than being academic. I’ve come to realize that being good at school really only means you’re good at school. I dream that education systems will begin to realize this. Too many of our kids complete their education without having any idea what they love or what they’re really good at. Instead, too many need to recover from their experience.
How would I begin this dream? With my students, we start with unlearning, so with teachers, I plan to start the same way. My students often don’t question their education because they don’t know what they don’t know. I think teachers are often the same way. For many years, I was the stand and deliver teacher because I didn’t know any other way. Changing what you know can be frightening and threatening. Consequently, I have a dream that teachers will take risks, regardless of their fears, not always knowing the direction or the outcome because their students need them to.
What would it look like for teachers to go through a process of unlearning? Too often what we do in our classroom is simply perpetuating the way we were taught. What would it look like to begin to imagine different possibilities? I dream of teachers who are willing to peer into the classrooms of others who have begun the voyage, and who are willing to imagine how it might change their own teaching. I dream of a staff who is willing to critically evaluate what they don’t like about school, and use this to begin to purposefully design classrooms that empower learners.
What I propose isn’t simple. The road is long, difficult and messy. And yet, I believe, it’s worth every moment.
Shelley Wright is a teacher and education blogger living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada. She teaches high school English, science and technology and works with other teachers interested in connected, inquiry-driven learning. Her passion is social justice and helping her students make the world a better place. She blogs at Wright’s Room. Follow her on Twitter at @wrightsroom.