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Monday, August 15, 2011

Time to talk about pedagogy and school transforation

School reform has traditionally come in three basic flavors: Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy. It is time to seriously discuss pedagogy. The connection to student achievement is through the teacher – we all knew that and know there is research that proves it. (Surprised? NO!!!)
The most important link in learning excellence is engaging teachers and students at the emotional level – bringing passion into the learning arena. Researchers promoting the “latest – greatest” instructional practices and materials (O-B-T-W-…promoted by publishing companies for profit) have systematically eliminated teacher creativity in the instructional process – taken away the source of their “element” (a la Ken Robinson) that engaged them in the learning process, thus disengaging the students, parents and community in the same process. Additionally, principals have not been able to support teaching excellence through cynical supervision because there are no clear descriptors defining what they look like in the classroom. (Maybe this is where Bill Gates is heading?)
Arts-Based Learning engages the student, teacher and schooling community in meaningful and rigorous learning processes. We’ve known this about the Arts for over 3000 years. Maybe there is a hidden message in our cultural ethos?