The 21st Century School Learning Community

With my heart palpitating and breathing shallow, I realized, after working on my presentation for the state conference, nowhere did I push for how to raise test scores. I slapped my palm to my forehead (and screamed since I forgot I had a headache) and couldn’t believe I had overlooked this Holy Grail of Education. “How,” I thought, “could I be so stupid?”

I looked over my thesis statement for the presentation, and let out a yelp of joy since nowhere did I write that this was the emphasis for my talk. This caused me to pause, though, for I was wondering, is this why students seem to each year dread school more and increase the teachers’ stress levels?

I then decided to see what the latest chatter is on Classroom 2.0 and found an interesting post from Liz Davis’ blog: The Power of Educational Technology about 21st Century learning: Some particular highlights that I copied and pasted below:

“Community is Essential – The school should bring learners and teachers together into a supportive community that nurtures both the individual and the group. The community should permeate all possible spaces, in the classroom, in the home and Online.

Critical Thinking – The school should actively encourage learners and teachers to think critically, continually asking the question, “Why do we teach what we teach?”

Risk Taking – The school should actively encourage learners and teachers to risk failure in the pursuit of understanding.

Learner Centered – The school should surround the learner with ideas and information, encouraging the learner to pursue a wide variety of paths to knowledge, and supporting the personal growth for all who inhabit the community.

Diversity – The school should actively encourage and pursue the input of those both inside and outside the community with a diversity of opinions. The school should consistently check that it is inclusive and supportive of learners and teachers from diverse backgrounds.

Nurture all learners – The school should provide opportunities and encouragement for all members of the community including teachers, students and parents to learn and grow.

Pursue Innovation – The school should actively explore, pursue and test new ideas and technologies, while always keeping the learner at the heart of the pursuit.

Good schools graduate good people – The school should actively and explicitly teach learners to think beyond themselves, encouraging students to value kindness and generosity.

Break down the walls – The school should provide access and opportunities for learners and teachers to reach outside the walls of the school to the neighboring, national and global community.”

Now, I wonder how I can bridge in my buildings the importance of this and the familiar phrase that we often hear, “How can this idea raise test scores?” I miss the days when creativity reigned supreme instead of today’s mantra: GET THOSE TEST SCORES UP!

What do you think?

2007 Report Out/Male Teachers

The 2007 NEA Executive Summary is online, and I was especially interested when I read that in 2006, 24.4% of U.S. public school teachers are male (it’s MUCH lower in the elementary grades–I’ve seen reports that report anywhere from 8 to 12%). Kansas had the highest amount (33.3%), followed in order by Oregon (31.4%), Alaska (30.9%), and Indiana (30.5%). The lowest percentages of male faculty were in Arkansas (17.5%), Mississippi (17.7%), Louisiana (17.8%), South Carolina (17.9%), Virginia (18.8%), and Georgia (19.3%).

Imagine how great it would be if children had more male role models to see every day in the classroom…what an interesting thought!