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Creativity, Education, Professional Development, Students, Teaching, Technology

A New Educational DNA

Abstract Blue DNA Art Paintings on Canvas

cc flickr photo: by DNA Art Online

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

Innovation in education is a popular topic these days.  Ideas about reforming public education abound–some advocating relatively minor adaptations to our current instructional practices, others, wholesale pedagogical changes.  One thing that all seem to agree upon: if public education is going to be a viable solution for our students, change is inevitable.

Readers of this blog will likely deduce that I am an advocate of a much more dramatic approach to school reform, one in which we reexamine our current practices–questioning the purpose and potential of everything (see An Educational Eye Exam).  We have to change how we look at our instruction, how we incorporate technology, how we engage students as “creators” in the educational process and even reconsider the skills necessary for our students to be successful in an ever-changing world (Five Skills for 21st Century Learners).  Jonathan Martin discusses another systemic change strategy in education–flipped classrooms–in his post entitled, Reverse Instruction: Dan Pink and Karl’s “Fisch Flip”.

Of course, this type of change is not easy for anyone–educators or students.  Our current methods of “conducting school” have become so ingrained, that it is often difficult to even get a view from outside of the box.  It is unfortunate, but many of our kids associate school with eight hours of detached and irrelevant activities–an unwanted break from creativity and pursuing personal interests.  That needs to change.

As Greg Whitby discusses in the following video, we are in need of a new educational DNA.  One in which students have ample opportunity to research, create, collaborate and problem solve.  In order to do this, we must be willing to rethink the teaching profession and our professional development methods.

The key to the success of our public schools likely rests in our ability to make these “DNA” alterations. We are on our way, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli


About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


3 thoughts on “A New Educational DNA

  1. I agree entirely with the need for dramatic change. The notion of what ‘school’ is, as it exists in our collective (un)conscious is mostly bankrupt, defunct, out of date and rotting. Yet the lack of momentum is staggering. I guess if parents and politicians still associate good education with ‘order’, ain’t nothing going to change.

    If I turn on ‘Neighbours’ or watching any depiction of school on the television, it’s the same ancient map of inspiring expert dictator with 20 underlings at desks.

    Bring on the crisis, the singularity, the disruption. Close all schools tomorrow and let’s start again, like ‘Old Sydney Town’. I’m sure we’ll figure out something better.

    More realistically, a ‘new schools’ movement could do the trick. A series of new schools operating under totally new models. Their success would grow the market – which is what we need. It’s like electric cars: when the market reaches tipping point, so will the whole industry. Bring it on!

    Posted by Steve Collis | April 24, 2011, 3:41 pm
  2. I showed this video as part of a discussion on change at a recent staff learning day and there were some people who were quite intimidated. Pausing to really reflect on how one has (not) changed can be overwhelming. I do believe though that change can happen, one teacher at a time, one classroom at a time… once people see what’s possible.

    Posted by whatedsaid | April 24, 2011, 6:27 pm
  3. Time brings change. New ideas, new technologies, new students and new information cry out for new approaches to keep teaching relevant to the day. This can be a scary proposition for many teachers who see a threat to their current knowledge and methods. There can be a fear of not being able to cope with the changes yet, isn’t this what we expect of children in a class? We introduce new topics and help them move forward in their learning quest. If we expect them to move forward, learning as they go, we should also be open to change.

    I like Steve Collis’s suggestion of starting a series of new schools operating under totally new models. They could operate in much the same way as demonstration schools* had by providing a place for teachers and student teachers to visit and observe.

    *demonstration schools – I’ve been put of mainline teaching for a few years now and am not aware if they still exist.

    Posted by Ross Mannell | August 28, 2011, 9:57 pm

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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