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We are so deep into failures of management, imagination, capacity, and policy regarding our educational system that we will see those like Jill exit in droves from the profession and leave behind those who have few options or lack the skills to do otherwise. It's a tragedy that's been 100 years in the making since we moved to a scientific management-driven theory X model of running factory schools. That system has failed American industry and public education. Yet, those responsible for failing America in the corporate world through outsourcing to increase profit and tax-dodging to avoid responsible corporate sector behavior are now an increasingly explicit fifth column in running public education. We need to return to natural leadership in which we make our community central to the invention work we desperately need to educate contemporary learners. We need to have the freedom of medical education today- whose educators are throwing out 100 years of tradition and creating fresh approaches to teaching and learning work in medical schools. The rest of the world has figured it out. We are being left behind.
Distributed leadership intersects the expertise of leaders who are teachers, principals, central staff and even students in the system. By leveraging the deep talents, skills, knowledge and capabilities of people who link together the nodes and hubs of the edu-ecosystems of our schools and school districts, we create a web that is far stronger because of the collective intelligence of the system than any individual intelligence found in old-style, singular leader-driven hierarchies. I use leadership because any of us can be leaders at any time based on our inclination and needs in the spaces where we work. We have many barriers to working together in a distributed leadership model but the potential outweighs the opportunity costs, I believe.
interesting and relevant question- in talking recently with a student who just very succesfully completed Army basic training and who struggled quite a bit in school, I asked him why the performance difference? He said, "because in the military your life depends upon your learning. The instructors pretty much refuse to let you fail. I heard one tell another soldier that if he failed, then the DI failed,too." I wonder how we would teach differently if we conceptualized that our students' lives depended upon us to ensure that they learn. How would that change the way we approach making learning relevant, engaging,interesting,results-based? How would we see our role as teachers differently? Would failure be an easy option? how would we see responsibility for/of of learners and learning? I'm not advocating that we educators become drill instructors but the drill instructors' handbook is fascinating.
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I believe that many forward-thinking educators would find your thinking on unlearning to be incredibly astute against our own understanding of learning for the future- and we do need to start in Pk-K Thank you.
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2010 on Teach Unlearning in Kindergarten at Unlearning 101
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Jan 9, 2010