Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, November 12, 2010

We need a Revolution

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller

In 2000, I gave a presentation in Puerto Rico, for the governor, on school reform that suggested we reconstruct our schools to be better suited to educate our children. The presentation began with an overview of where we were and transitioned to where we needed to go. We need to leave the current school buildings and methods of educating because we know they aren't working. Reform then was a bad word because it simply meant rearranging failed methods, renaming failed ideas, and doing the same old same old in a different order. But nothing changed nor was anything reformed. Reform is still a bad idea and word, because it doesn't do anything. Instead, I have been advocating a revolution.

By 2001, I was using "paradigm shift" in many of my graduate papers and publications. One article spoke about how I was changing my classroom into a new model called CyberEnglish. Instead of being receptacles of information, my scholars became producers of knowledge and information. Many of my colleagues were on board with this idea as they, too, began looking for ways to transform their classrooms.

When I began CyberEnglish in 1993, I wanted to change education from the current stifling form of information delivery and presentation to a new model. The new model created producers, not consumers. The new model didn't rely on seat time but work done from anywhere at anytime. Schools still demand seat time and create consumers. Today I ran into a scholar who was coming to school late and had missed the class. He told me he was doing the work online at home, which I had seen and that he had some issues which caused him to be late to school, more often than he'd like. The point is, he didn't need to be in my class every day and he was able to do the work in his time and on his terms. And he was doing it well. The reason our schools are failing is that they are not considering the needs of their clients, the scholars.

Around 2007 we had a whole "shift happens" revolution on YouTube. These cute videos pointed out the change, but not a way to make it happen in schools. CyberEnglish did provide a way.

Nearly 20 years later, I was introduced to Sir Ken Robinson and his video about Changing Education Paradigms. The title struck a cord. He has a similar pair of videos at TED.

What is it going to take to change education? Certainly not the Senge model of management we see at The US Department of Education nor the one we see in New York City with the appointment of Cathleen P Black.

We need a revolution, a real revolution like the good old days.

1 comment:

Paul said...

not sure if you follow larry ferlazzo's blog, but between him and you we have the faces of the revolution you talk about: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2010/11/13/the-best-blog-posts-articles-about-joel-klein%E2%80%99s-departure-the-question-of-who-should-be-leading-our-schools/

a big question i have is how do we increase an audience for the ideas you and other visionaries pose before we lose your voices to the politicians?