By Jaime Sarrio
Check out the classroom of the future, Bill Gates’ style: Students are grouped according to skill set. One cluster huddles around a computer terminal, playing an educational game or working on a simulator. Another works with a human teacher getting direct instruction, while another gets a digital lesson delivered from their teacher’s avatar.
This kind of “game-based” learning is one of the priorities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Microsoft creator.
Well the reason I have not made a post is the fact that I had to witness and experience a grueling emotional draining of losing my teaching job. My young family of four took it the worst. I just smile and say things will be ok. I really don’t know who to get mad at. My union for defending teachers who have seniority over me and have a horrible documented past of teaching our students. One teacher was caught playing fantasy baseball in classroom. My Governor who cut education in our state across the board. Parents who blame all the social ills on the teachers and who really need to take part on their end of the deal of raising their child. Most of all me for investing in this profession were I have no control over anything except what I do in my classroom, former classroom, and that is really the truth. The worst part is the number of teachers who have been laid off this year and who I am competing for a job for next year. I really don’t know where the road will lead me. The only thing I know is success is judge by the way we respond to failure. I told my students this several times the past nine years. Now I will be tested by this mantra.
What is your teaching technique? What type of skills do you bring to the table that helps inspire, entertain, and enlighten students for the future? Is it bringing prior knowledge of the students and linking it to the content? If so, how? Is it relating the material to the student personally? If so, how? These are all things that I wonder what other teachers are doing in the classroom. What new techniques are being used to help assist teachers in the classroom? What types of traditional techniques are still being used because they simply work? I wonder?
I post this question what it means to be a teacher because I think in this day and age we really don’t have an understanding of what a teacher is.
My answer is linked to the Teacher blog http://teachersocrates.wordpress.com/
We need to break away from the agrarian model and industrialized structured educational system. We all learn differently and need to create multi-faceted approaches to meet the needs of a diverse population. I think Sir Ken Thompson brings forth a few good ideas.
This video was found on Laughter Brothers Blog.
Is seniority really a good thing for the educational system? I thought about this when I was reaching my study hall duty and realized the senior teacher that should be helping me run a 112 student study hall decided not to show. Even though I am in the process of being RIF, I try not to let it get to me. I could mention this situation to the principal, but the union jumps in with a reason why this teacher wasn’t there. Ohio is attacking the public schools by cutting funding. This impacts me and my family because I will be entering the unemployment line and entering the long line of teachers looking for jobs that are not there. I always here wait until so and so retires, then we will call you back. I walk by so and so’s room and as he sits there at his desk not engaging with his unmotivated students the same very question enters my mind. The most disheartening thing about this situation is that I have no control over it. Would merit help give me some control of the RIF process? Why is seniority the main factor of eliminating teachers? OOH that’s the bell I better get to my duty because I know my fellow senior colleague is not going to be there.
Kasich gives short info on the new movement dealing with Cleveland schools.
Ohio Governor Kasich gives his mid-term budget review. Since the education system is the largest expenditure he of course brought forth some new ideas. As I have mention before we need to break away from the old agrarian style of teaching. One idea that I think is a good step in the right direction that Kasich talks about is expanding blended teaching. This encompasses mixing in-class lectures with online courses. In a brief note I see it as a one two punch. Using current technology to bring forth information dealing with a content area and then also combining it with tradition teacher center lectures. This will help reach majority of the students especially with students at different learning levels.
Other factors that he touched on is dealing with teachers evaluation. These evaluations should not be held behind closed doors so the general public can’t see what teacher is effective and what teacher is not effective. It should be illustrated in a fair and open setting who is really successful and who is not. A third party is needed to perform this evaluation because if it is done by an administration and that administration own evaluation is related to teachers performance then you know what the administrator is going to give his/her teachers. It is only fair to be done by a third party.
The last thing that was mention and it’s illustrated in my previous post “Competition, Cooperation, and Cost effectiveness” is needed to drive down cost and drive up performance by teachers. Why not give control to local districts and schools to determine their own fate based on performance. School choice might not be the total answer, but it is an added feature that might push us in the right direction.
As an educator I notice we are at a pivotal point with education. If we look where we are at right now we are standing on an archaic path. The direction we are facing takes us down a traditional road that leads to an agrarian foundation of education. This one size fits all format only takes us back to the 19th century ideology. We must redirect and take the higher road where it’s more sophisticated and multi-faceted. Choosing this redirected path we shatter the traditional brick and mortar schools, printed books, and agrarian school calendar. This 21st century road to success embraces educational access from any location, digital books, and with access to broad band information it will extend the number of school days. An idea is coming into light that is pointing us to this 21st century format that takes on educating our future generations for global competition. The idea of Transformation School creates competition, cooperation, and cost effectiveness within a local community. I see the discussion and hopefully the early stages of this idea in my local city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Competition drives us to break out of our skin of mediocrity and forces us to strive for greater things that are bigger than our own selves. Why not have this in a district setting. Why not have schools within a district compete for funding and students to see who comes out ahead. This idea purges the weak and focuses on the strong schools, teachers, and administrators that will strive for the success of the students. For this to ensure a school board or governing body of a district must give schools autonomy. From there it is up to those schools within the district to set the foundation of their own accomplishment. The ones that fail to meet the needs of the students and parents will be eliminated and the student body will be absorbed into the following successful schools. Of course any field of competition must establish a fair and evenhanded outline of rules to determine how schools are high-performing and low-performing. National, state governments and educational think tanks are starting to create this outline of rules that will help evaluated the different schools competing for resources. A system like this creates innovation to help attract students and families and establish a culture of triumph.
In the past decade or so new public schools have surfaced. These charter schools are publicly funded schools in poor performing urban areas. I have been a member of a charter school in the Cleveland area. I experienced that charter schools needed to be creative to draw students away from the traditional public schools. New techniques use by these charter schools to help become successful is digital learning, higher core standards, and more time on classroom instruction. These innovations can be helpful in a public school setting. Why not allow high performing charter schools and high performing public schools collaborate on what is working for them. A public school might have a creative cross curriculum that is working in their setting and a charter school might have a technological approach that extends learning time. By combing both ideas will help set the stage for the needed 21st century success. It is possible to have a dualistic approach by organizing competition with cooperation among high performing schools. I have worked for both a charter school and public school setting. I have seen things work in a charter school, like technology and longer learning periods, which will work in a public school setting. I have enjoyed seeing success in community building in a public school setting that will work well in a charter school.
Giving schools in local district autonomy helps slim down the bureaucracy of a school board. The operation of managing staffing, basic operations and budgeting is all done by the schools. Having schools handle their own operations helps eliminate a step that they must go through to get anything done. By having autonomy a school can bypass getting the board’s approval and this helps stimulate a rapid results for the school within the district. Its basic economics when you eliminate a step it helps generate more revenue. The major function of the board is to oversee performance of the schools. Why have staffing at the Board office to facilitate an operation that can be handled right at the school.
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