Posts filed under ‘Education Philosophy’

Adding the Education Delivery System to the Lexicon – Without Dualistic Tendencies

Addressing Education as a Delivery System is not new, but its potential cannot be expressed within the lexicon until we acknowledge it beyond the binary. The current attempts to reinvent the US PreK-12 Education Delivery System generally bundle everything old as bad and introduce a single idea or entity as its sole competitor. To be successful, however, the system must be allowed to exist in fluid form. The schoolhouse walls have been tumbling down for a while with innovative ideas arising from necessity, creativity, or some combination of the two in concert with a vision for truly strategic planning. It is not time to sort the winners or losers; the solution is inclusive.

The tradition public education system has become the straw man against challengers such as private for-profit systems, charter school chains, online programs, and other delivery modalities. Unfortunately, many delivery system innovators have adopted the binary approach – The Good (us) versus The Bad (them) – one of the saddest artifacts of weak management in education. Indeed, almost every argument has become mired in the mud of a rope pulling contest between the best bullies from either side of the fray. This attitude is not going to nurture truly ground-breaking developments. Similarly, this adversarial approach keeps us caught up in the spat among the adults, with the students being barely essential to the dialogue aside from the requisite reference to the children by both sides as their sole concern.

A renewed US PreK-12 Education Delivery System (no “s”, not plural) must be student-centered and universally relevant in order to be sustainable. All information – finance, educational outcomes, teacher effectiveness – must be linked at the most basic level directly to the student. Education can no longer be defined by what happens within the schoolhouse walls. It can be delivered anywhere: at home, in the community, online, or within a central education complex. And the facilitator can be a person, a written source, a transmitter, or an interactive digital or interpersonal experience. The process can be personalized for each student with learning experiences designed for students individually or within optimized cohorts.

I am not usually one for getting hung up on semantics, but this one matters. We need a new approach to the Education Delivery System as a whole. The existing system does not work, and power brokers hanging onto their turf will never build a better system. Everyone has a stake in the solution. The children are the future of our world, but they depend on the education delivery system for effectiveness, health and safety for their survival, and a political economy within which they can become thriving adult citizens. Their villages need to get busy and learn to speak as one.

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January 6, 2016 at 10:36 AM Leave a comment

Philosophy of Education

           Education provides the leadership, guidance, scaffolding, and material resources for successful transformation from childhood to early adulthood. The child forms his or her intellect with the knowledge, academic skills, and critical thinking needed to address opportunities and dilemmas in real life as well as to continue the pursuit of understanding as a lifelong learner. The academic village serves as a microcosm for society in which to develop physically and emotionally and to explore citizenship in a democratic world. Education must have meaning and relevance, but the student should be transformed by education into a broader minded individual open to further expansion of horizons and prepared academically for access and competitiveness.

          Teaching involves laying down basic schemas, elaboration and rehearsal to establish memory, periodic reinforcement to retain long-term memory, and development of metacognition. Children engage more effectively in learning when they have a connection to the content and develop deeper understanding through exploration. However, teachers must periodically assist students to formalize their strategies for problem solving, essentially identifying the skills learned, techniques applied, and ways to validate results. In this way, students create their own pathways to algorithms yet consciously develop analytical toolkits that they know how and when to use in the future. In addition, basic knowledge and skills must be retained in memory to reduce search time early in problem solving and allow students more time to pursue more complex and interesting aspects of cognition.

           Educators must protect and facilitate equal access to general education for diverse learners while fostering the highest achievement of each child according to his or her individual potential. Every child has a platform for success; programs must be designed and modified until every child has been accommodated. Natural variations in learning style and growth and development create challenges for educators as they develop an academic milieu that provides for all learners. Great and small leaps in comprehension occur unpredictably, and students can encounter unexpected obstacles to their learning. Great care must be taken to understand the whole child beyond expectations related to age, grade level, and performance.

           Heterogeneous groupings of children allow them to benefit from one another’s strengths and diverse points of view. Student support services are provided to create a level playing field for students with disabilities and greater challenges for gifted learners within the same classroom wherever possible. Lesson plans must offer a variety of approaches such as multi-sensory explorations, inductive and deductive processes, and group workshops. Students should be prepared to perform well on periodic standardized assessments; however, more authentic alternative assessments must be used throughout each unit of study. Educators must be informed by the data gathered through formal and informal assessment to improve their practices continuously.

           Finally, college preparation is essential to the vision for every student, especially those for whom education has been a struggle. In fact, the absence of high expectations for the future can be the greatest obstacle for underachievers. The high school diploma is not the ultimate goal; rather it is the key to unlock the next door, the reason to keep going. Graduation merely signifies the transfer of stewardship from the school to the young adult.

February 9, 2011 at 9:32 AM 1 comment