Through the Education Lens

10 Steps . . . for smarter schools

CJ Westerberg, October 25, 2012 7:39 PM


Classic: The Daily Riff

Ed. Note:  Dennis Littky is co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning  and the Met Center in Providence, RI.  He is also recipient of the George Lucas Educational Foundation's
Daring Dozen: The Twenty Most Daring Educators in the World.  Below is a shortened version of the ten steps recommended by Littky which appeared in The Rhode Island Monthly.
The Daily Riff previously featured Big Picture Learning in "Bill & Melinda's Field Trips." 

10 Steps . . . for smarter schools
Videos Below

"If you're not standing on the edge, you're taking up too much space."
- Dennis Littky, Big Picture Learning

1)  Create individual learning plans.
The basics of reading, writing, math and scientific thinking apply to any discipline,
so let's build lessons around each student's interests and goals. When students are motivated and engaged, they stick with school.
2)  Involve families.
Parents are a child's first teacher and know their student best. Schools need to do
all they can to get parents involved - and not just when something is wrong. Parents will make it a priority. They just haven't been asked.
3) Focus on real-world learning.
    Memorizing facts is the lowest level of learning, yet it's what we ask our students
    to do most . . .

4)  Foster questions, not answers.
     Curiosity is a powerful motivator. . .

5)  Evaluate skills.
 Answering a, b, c, d, or e on a standardized multiple-choice test doesn't reflect a student's ability to put knowledge into action. . .
6)  Use technology wisely.
7)  Support great teachers.
We must work hard to have only the very best teachers in our schools. Teacher training colleges need to get future teachers thinking innovatively about what school should be,
not preparing teachers for the schools of yesterday.

8)  Focus on college completion.

9)  Make schools, not districts, accountable.
Teachers, principals, parents and students know their school the best. They should
have enough control to design some of the measures  . . .

10)  Do everything at once.
Tweaking around the edges hasn't created noticeable change or narrowed the achievement gap in our country.  We must reinvent.

Link to full article here.
Newly released TEDxNY talk link HERE!!

Videos Below
#1- 30-second summary of Littky philosophy
#1 Harold McGraw Education Award clip featuring Theodore (Ted) Sizer

H/t to Silvia Martinez for pdf.
Related posts from The Daily Riff:

Bill & Melinda's Field Trips Plus Big Picture Learning/College Unbound

What Would Ted Sizer Say About Technology

High School Stinks

Is This the Best High School in America? 

Are We Preparing Students For Our Age or Theirs?

Graduation Mash-Up:  Reality Check Time

Why We Need Mentors In School and Work Now More Than Ever


blog comments powered by Disqus



Five-Minute Montessori

02.12.2017 | "Seeing the big picture allows students to take ownership of their learning - a critical element in fostering each child's natural learning desire." Watch Now | Comments


Want your child to have initiative and perseverance?

02.11.2017 | Passion-Based Learning in Action Watch Now | Comments


The Opening Challenge for The New Year

01.11.2017 | "It's hard to find a great dress for this inauguration." - President-elect Donald Trump Watch Now | Comments

michael jordan.jpg

Famous Failures who didn't "make the grade"

11.05.2016 | Wow- such failures! 60 second video - Michael Jordan,Thomas Edison & more surprises Watch Now | Comments


Late Bloomers (Guess what? You didn't peak in high school ;)

06.22.2016 | How 2012 Nobel Prize Winner Dissed by High School Biology Teacher - CJ Westerberg post Watch Now | Comments


"Professors who are good at mentoring will thrive"

03.17.2016 | Joi Ito, Head of MIT Media Lab Watch Now | Comments


NEW POST: The Beauty of Math

12.24.2015 | Beautiful Video Watch Now | Comments


A Response to: Is Your Child a "Warrior" or "Worrier"?

10.22.2015 | Why Some Kids Handle Test Pressure and Others . . . Not. Watch Now | Comments


"Children just don't go out in nature"

10.21.2015 | Children today spend on average spend less than 40 minutes "outside" - Video Doc Watch Now | Comments


What do you remember from high school? (Humor)

10.16.2015 | Week-end Funnies - VIDEO Viral video parody (nudity alert!) Some Study That I Used to Know is already at 1.5 million views. It's another play on Goyte's hugely viral video Watch Now | Comments

michael jordan.jpg
Sparks of Genius. Thirteen Thinking Tools.jpg

How the Arts Prepare for a Life's Work in any Discipline

07.24.2015 | Including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Watch Now | Comments


"Thwart Institutional Cowardice"

02.04.2015 | Congratulations Vicki Abeles for Raising Funds for next film "Beyond Measure" Watch Now | Comments


Parents: Are we sabotaging our own kids' math "ability"?

01.19.2015 | Many parents in the United States assume that (math ability) is just some kind of aptitude - some kids have it, some kids don't . . . The result is most of our kids (in the U.S.) don't do really well in Math . . ." Watch Now | Comments


Tom Friedman: Think Like an Immigrant

01.13.2015 | Five Ways to Succeed in Life and Work Watch Now | Comments


Is This The Best High School in America?

01.02.2015 | WATCH: How These Six Minutes May Change Your Idea of Innovative Education (dramatically). Phillips Exeter, Harvard Westlake & Lawrenceville may be taking notes from this charter school leading the next wave. Does your High School look anything like it? Watch Now | Comments

Finland. Finnishflag.BobCompton.jpg

The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System

12.17.2014 | New update December 2, 2013 which includes Yong Zhao link and comments PLUS CNN videos Watch Now | Comments


Ten To-Do's for Young People to Consider

12.16.2014 | #1 - Build a "Personal Board of Directors" Watch Now | Comments


Mind Overload! from Technology & "Societal Exhaustion"

12.16.2014 | Mindfulness: "I've seen it transform classrooms . . . " Watch Now | Comments