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


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