Some Comment Carryover

I was responding to the fantastic comments from Bill, Carolyn, and hurricainemaine on my last post when I realized that it got a little long-winded, so I decided to post it as a legitimate entry here:

From Bill:

” Do you think that a “process v. product” message is a tough sell in an accountability driven culture?”

From Carolyn:

“Patrick, I so much agree that schools need environments where teachers feel free to innovate and to be learners themselves. And I feel we need to be having these conversations within our own buildings–because it seems it is the conversations where things can begin?”

From hurricainemaine:

“there is resistance amongst my peers for what I am doing. Is that because of the also top-down we are facing or are they truly stuck on the burning platform?”

My response:

“I have to agree with Carolyn on this one that teaching the skills that enable children to “learn how to learn,” will trump any testing situation or psychometric assessment. In that case, the process can, and does, win out over the product.

In her latest blog post, which I recommend, “Your Wild and Precious Life,” Carolyn uses the slogan from Mabry Middle School as an example of how to phrase a key principle that we all should model:
“Making Learning Irresistible for 25 Years.”

With a mindset like that, I don’t see how failure to engage is an option. How can I make this lesson/unit/curriculum so desired by our students that that they have to have it? Great questions to ask yourself.

My reasoning for writing this post was partly inquiry, but also to show how we are doing things. I want more than anything teachers in my district to come to me and say “Hey, look at this lesson I want to teach. It’s pretty out there, but look how it relates to what we have to teach, and look at the engagement level!” I don’t see it yet, but I know it is there.

Ken Robinson, in “Out of Our Minds,” talks about the battle to develop the creativity of your brightest employees or lose them to someone else, but he is talking about the corporate world. In many ways, I wish I was battling for that. As an administrator, I want to develop our staff to a point where they marketable, and then I want to do everything to keep them. That’s a culture of healthy competition.”

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