I'm loving taking a few minutes each day to watch a TED talk and/or a talk from LDS General Conference. It feels so good to get my brain working. Here's my favorite clip from last week:
According to this video (and I totally agree), the way our current education is set up can really squash creativity. Our "no child left behind" policies should really be called "millions of children left behind." The culture of standardization just doesn't work for kids. Different kids really need different things. We need kids to grow up to have different skills and perform different roles - so why are we trying to get children with naturally different needs and interests to all learn the same things in the same way? What do we need? Great teachers who really care and can personalize education and who have the freedom to adjust curriculum to what they know will work for the children in their classroom. This requires more professional development for teachers, more respect for teachers, less required standardized practices. Education is not and cannot be a mechanized system. It has to be a human system based on tons of individual stories from individual children.
"Alternative" education makes things more individualized and helps children get re-interested in education when they've struggled. It works. Why is this type of education the "alternative" instead of the norm?
Leaders in education need to change the focus from "command and control" to "climate control" where the right situations are created for teachers and learners to flourish.
Right now I'm working on setting up the right situation for learning to flourish in our family this summer. We'll be out of town a lot but it's easy to adapt most of what's in our Loosli Learning Adventures Camp (written about in this post that has sort of gone crazy out there - 1/2 a million reads!) to our upcoming 3-week cross-country road trip (reading, writing, learning - all great things to do when you're in a car for lots of hours...). And each kid is choosing a different city that we'll be visiting to research in advance then they'll do a little "presentation" to everyone else in the car as we near that city. Plus we'll be learning a ton together as we visit new places, meet new people, and have plenty of adventures (some of which will be fun while we're having them, some of which may be less fun at the time but will hopefully make for great memories!).
I can't fix the whole school system right now (but some of that's on my shelf to do a bit later in my life!). I can supplement what my kids are getting in school with some really great learning experiences during their out-of-school time.