#MakeSchoolDifferent: 5 Things to Stop Pretending

You would think that a simple question would be easy to answer.

Heather Theijsmeijer and Doug Peterson challenged me make a list of 5 things we need to stop pretending in education, but this post has taken me days to write!  What’s harder:  reading their posts, agreeing with their points, and then trying to create my own without copying their ideas.  I vowed not to read any more #MakeSchoolDifferent blog posts until I wrote my own.

We need to stop pretending

1. that change is easy.  It isn’t.  We know that we are encouraged to embrace change:  to shift from teaching to learning, to embed technology into our lessons…  Rather than explain how I see it, watch this video:

(thanks to George Couros for sharing the story of this bike at #SeLNO today)

2. that students will see failure as a good thing.  When I fail, my first thoughts aren’t very pleasant.  I get frustrated and angry, and sometimes I’m tempted to give up.  The thing is, I was never taught the skills associated with growth mindset, especially grit.  These skills need to be explicitly taught so that students can apply them to new situations.  Read about my son’s experiences here.

3. that all students will use technology to learn.  I live and work North of Lake Superior.  We face some pretty tough issues regarding access to technology.  Many of my students don’t have any sort of personal device.  Many of my students don’t have access to the Internet at home.  Wifi just became available in our school this year, but we struggle with bandwidth, which directly affects what we can do in class.  I know we’re moving forward, but oh how nice it would be to get there a bit faster.

4. that our “super cool” lessons are going to suit the needs & interests of our students.  We may think that our ideas are great, but we are very different than our students.  Rather than telling students exactly what to do, consider teaching concepts and themes and allow them to choose how they will show their learning.

Just think if this guy was your gym teacher:

5. that our students aren’t interested in reform.  Invite them into the conversation and ask them how we can #MakeSchoolDifferent.  I know I will, and I hope they respond to my post.

I would like to tag @JMarciski, @LCosta_Miller, @NickiMC40, @WallwinS & @CDaviesLeroux to think about 5 things that would #MakeSchoolDifferent.  Your turn!



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8 Responses to #MakeSchoolDifferent: 5 Things to Stop Pretending

  1. dougpete says:

    Thanks for writing this post, sharing your thoughts, Colleen. You’ve got a nice collection there. I think that your point #5 could potentially open the floodgates. It will be interesting to see how your students respond.

  2. Thanks for sharing your ideas Colleen. I really like your honesty and I agree with all your points, especially the first two. Definitely something to keep in mind to move forward

    • colleenkr says:

      Thanks Kim. Those first two points come from seeing real struggle while aiming for new goals. Learning is awesome, but it involves challenges that test our abilities.

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  6. A good first step to change is your number four. As you say in #1, it is not easy, but doable. Great post.

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