“This Will Revolutionize Education” –A Story That Needs To Be Told Again and Again

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

I needed to write a post yesterday morning. I had on my desk a few ideas from articles I had cut out of newspapers, suggestions that friends and family had sent to me, and pieces  from a chapter on donors that I had drafted and wanted to try out on my blog.

Before I decided which of these items I would expand into a post, I checked my website to see how many views I had overnight, what comments had come in and whether they needed responses from me, and, of course, dumping the spam that had collected overnight. I also checked to see who had clicked onto the site for that is a way I find out who is reading posts and a chance for me to pick up different ideas. And that is how I found today’s post. One reader had downloaded my monthly cartoon feature on technology…

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1 Response to “This Will Revolutionize Education” –A Story That Needs To Be Told Again and Again

  1. What a great display of the historical folly of trying to fix education with technology! I’ll be sending this out, frequently!

    Regarding the centrality of the teacher, I’ll just point out that teachers work within a method for organizing the school district, which also has a very large effect.

    No less than John Merrow, education correspondent for the PBS NewsHour agrees with the following analysis. (See his post on Opting out on his blog, takingnote.learningmatters.tv).

    Organizing school districts with testing and the schedule guarantees:

    A) some students will be ahead, bored, idle and not working;
    B) some will be behind, tending to fall more behind, a problem which only compounds.

    A follow-the-schedule method, enforced with tests causes students to fall more behind, relative to grade level, on average, the more years spent in public school.

    Moving away from the schedule requires students get some amount of autonomy. This presents a different problem. Many students, are not _yet_ able to wisely and responsibly use the freedom required to follow their own individual plan. When autonomy is provided to students who are unready for that freedom, the result is chaos.

    You see the problem. For students to have their own plan, they need autonomy, autonomy many students are not _yet_ ready for.

    It seems like our two choices are guarantee chaos or guarantee idleness.

    There is a 3rd way from the Latin origination of education, educere, meaning to lead out the student from within.

    IF we could, and we can (we have evidence), by leading students through inner exercises in an “inner gymnasium”, little by little (it takes about a month), students begin to better hear the wise part within, develop the skill of the will, and a deep satisfaction takes hold;

    THEN it becomes safe to provide the very autonomy students need to work on challenges just right for each student.

    This is real education work – leading out the student from within – done by trained educators. Only students can do the knowledge work, the reading, writing and arithmetic.

    Leading out students from within begins to solve the structural problem of ‘the-one’ and ‘the-many’ that is unique to eduction work.

    …and there is evidence. It works.

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