What most of us in education understand is that the skills necessary to be a successful online student are the same skills that will serve our students well into adulthood. Successful students are self-directed, self-motivated, and self-assessing. They are equipped with these skills because a great teacher taught them how and gave them ample opportunities to practice. It is a myth that any student can sit at a computer and learn, even with the best online curriculum.
Classroom teachers who are working to make a difference have reached a critical juncture point. We can’t be expected to continue running ourselves ragged trying to do it all, battling the demon that is time. If the status quo remains, expect to see more quality teachers exiting classrooms for other pursuits, and watch our profession continue to struggle with the challenge of adapting to the learning landscape of the age we are living in. The authors of Teaching 2030 propose to address this issue by encouraging investments in “teacherpreneurs.”
One of the defining moments of this exhibit day was when I led this couple to the Eugenics display. One of my students started to explain the program, and she mentioned a particular doctor’s name who was involved with the experiments. The Jewish woman said, “ahhh, that is the doctor who experimented on my sister for 8 months.” Shock, and silence, from everyone. She then proceeded to tell us the story and teach all of us. All of a sudden the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the eugenics experiments, became very real.
“We live in a connected world, with the Internet and powerful digital technologies literally at our fingertips, so it would be foolish not to integrate those things into the learning experience. But when I talk about the shift to 21st century teaching and learning, I am not talking primarily about changing the tools we use. I’m talking about transforming the way most teachers teach today – either because they were taught to teach that way or because the accountability system makes them believe they have to teach that way.”
Administrators, what do you look for when you spend time in classrooms? What do you listen for? Teachers, how do you know authentic, real, meaningful, passion-filled learning is happening before your eyes? How often do we take the time to ask children what learning means to them?
You ask how the ideas in “The Power of Pull” have transformed my leading. I’m not so certain about that yet (I think leadership is a blend of pull with an occasional nudge). I am sure, however, that Pull ideas have transformed my learning. For me learning means “changing my mind,” that is, reshaping my thoughts and my worldview. Several new-to-me ideas from Hagel, Brown, and Davison have changed my mind.