Thursday, May 26, 2011

School Reform through the Eyes of Albus Dumbledore

"No spell can reawaken the dead, Harry. I trust you know that. Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I can't help but think of this quote when it comes to education reform, so I'm going to list how things are done the right way and how things are done the easy way in various realms of education.

Implementing Change in a School District
The Easy Way: Write a policy
The Right Way: Have your buildings/staff make the necessary changes they need to help students learn

Technology Integration
The Easy Way: Buy some Smartboards and show the community our commitment to technology
The Right Way: Invest in technology that changes a teaching practice, not technology that isn't much different from an overhead projector

Community Relations
The Easy Way: Cave to whatever demands are placed upon you by the community, tell them you'll do everything they want
The Right Way: Stand up for something and explain to the community how it benefits your district, even if it means spending some money

The Easy Way: Hand out some worksheets from a textbook manual and have students follow and copy down what you've done
The Right Way: Find out what each learner needs, and provide them with as much support for those needs as you can

School Structure
The Easy Way: Force all students to assimilate in to one model of what a school is
The Right Way: Provide students with several different options to attend school (brick and mortar, cyber, blended, etc) and have them choose which one works best for them

The Easy Way: Give points, then slowly and methodically remove them for each successive mistake a student makes. 
The Right Way: Have a list of things that a student does well, and some things they must improve upon.  Constantly revise and add to this list throughout the year.

Grading II
The Easy Way: Use a formula to calculate some type of average to summarize what a student can do.
The Right Way: Students have portfolios, that you can go through and look at to see their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. 

The Easy Way: Make decisions based upon tenure/seniority/contract status
The Right Way: Make decisions based upon who is best for your district

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