|Solar panels on roof - zero energy|
|A UK open plan school|
I usually note how little space there is to display students’ work but am usually informed such work will be kept in student electronic portfolios. It sound petty but I am not usually very impressed with the children’s work I usually see although I note displays of De Bono’s thinking hats, Gardner’s multipleintelligence, a range of inquiry learning models and ‘best practice’ WALTS ( we are learning to) and success criteria. To be honest these later observations apply to most schools I visit – or I used to visit. Conformist, clone like, formulaic – the result of so called ‘best practice’ teaching.
|Modern school UK|
Even the art, once the height of individual creativity, has suffered from an overdose of ‘success criteria’ and associated feedback. The same applies to students’ language. As for inquiry learning, which ought to be central in any 21stC learning, it is all too often more process than real in depth understanding.
Two areas that do stand out during visits are literacy and numeracy. With their genesis in the 19thC this emphasis is further distorted by the reactionary imposition of National Standards. I obviously am not against literacy and numeracy but believe they need to be reframed as foundation skills in the service of inquiry learning. In some schools they seem to have captured the whole day; ‘ the evil twins’ (one UK commentator has said) ‘that have all but gobbled up the entire curriculum.’
I am left wondering real understanding of the enthusiastic politicians who talk about such open schools being the way of the future?
It seems they know nothing about the open education movement of the 70s when schools were designed as open plans with teams of teachers sharing large numbers of students? In such schools teachers were encouraged to throw out their desks and replace them with geometric
|Open plan school 1960s UK|
|Teacher plus ICT|
Such things as integrated projects based on authentic problems/projects, the need to dig deeply into learning by doing fewer things well, interest based learning, powerful celebratory displays, integrating learning with the local community and environment, valuing the creative arts, learning from/through failure and performance assessments are not new ( nor all that common).
|Open education 1926 USA|