“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming

Leading the Learning Journey isn’t a path that I plan to take on my own.  I enrolled in Justin Reich’s and Peter Senge’s MOOC:  Launching Innovation in Schools through MIT on https://www.edx.org/.  I highly recommend it since over 5,000 participants are collaborating world-wide to share their practice, problems, visions, and learning.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming

In most traditional public high schools, the factory-style, assembly-line model of covering standardized curriculum, teaching to standardized high-stakes assessments, following bell to bell schedules and routines, teacher-centered lectures and desks in rows are the norm.  I am not writing my reaction to a high school student interview to bash free and appropriate public education. However, I believe that launching innovation is the only way to sustain its relevance. My belief was confirmed after I interviewed one high school student.  Although this is one student’s view, a small lens on one high school, and certainly not statistically significant, I learned some key points.

  1. Students attend school from a notion of mandatory attendance, yet, peer connections have the capacity to foster a sense of belonging. “I felt like I had to go there.  In the morning I see friends when I get to school so it wasn’t that bad.”
  1. High school has the capacity to foster efficacy or not. “Most time, I feel accomplished when I leave school at the end of the day, yet sometimes I feel like I should have worked harder when I am faced with a test and I feel like I don’t know anything.”
  1. High school students can find school to be predictable, routinized, and non-creative. “A typical day is going to classes, going to the gymnasium eating lunch getting snacks. It is difficult being a student at my school because you get tired of being at the same school for four years.”  
  1. Students in high school want to learn metacognitively, but are often not provided with the opportunity to do so. “…trying to understand what the teachers are saying to me and understand their way of thinking.  Teachers should find a way to allow us to think and reason in our own way.”
  1. High school extracurricular activities provide motivation and connections. “It is fun being on a sports team.  It is a way to represent the school community.  The extra curricular and non-traditional classes are exciting.”
  1. High schools must embrace social-emotional learning and students are often challenged behaviorally as well as challenging to school leadership. “I like the way some students who get in trouble aren’t punished, but are also supported; the school administrators tried to help them.”

These “aha” moments will infuse my posts on Powerful Learning Environments and Problems of Practice where I plan to delve more deeply into my analysis.

 

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