Join Leslie Grant and James Stronge, authors of the new ASCD book West Meets East, in an exciting, free webinar as they discuss what teachers in the East (China) can learn from their counterparts in the West (United States) and vice versa.
The long-term benefits of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been touted by the academic community at large, yet it's often difficult to envision the light at the end of the tunnel when dealing with the demands and challenges of actual classroom implementation. Although these standards make it clear what is expected of students, many teachers are left without a road map explaining how to approach and properly convey this new material in the classroom.
In the United States, historically, the purpose of education has evolved according to the needs of society. Education's primary purpose has ranged from instructing youth in religious doctrine, to preparing them to live in a democracy, to assimilating immigrants into mainstream society, to preparing workers for the industrialized 20th century workplace.
And now, as educators prepare young people for their futures in a world that is rapidly changing, what is the goal? To create adults who can compete in a global economy? To create lifelong learners? To create emotionally healthy adults who can engage in meaningful relationships?
The ASCD Annual Conference took place in Los Angeles from March 14–17. It was consistently thrilling to be among a diverse group of 9,000 educators. Everyone had stories to tell, aspirations to share, and good work to do. You just had to sit down next to anyone and say, "Where are you from? What do you do?" and an hour later you had another colleague.
I heard competing narratives about our students and the schools they need. One narrative concerns poor kids of color who come to school from the earliest elementary years already behind in basic skills. They need schools structures and teachers who are strong enough and sensitive enough to stand with the kids, and who have a pedagogical skill set attuned to their students' particular needs—especially in reading, writing and the traumas of poverty. If we don't provide a more rigorous and high-end curriculum of health care and basic skills for these kids, they'll never catch up; the lack of resources to more predictably turn these communities around is further proof of the institutional racism we still must fight. There is much call from these communities for longer school days and longer school years to bridge all the gaps.
Teachers are increasingly embracing leadership roles that allow them to use their skills and expertise outside of the classroom. Yet many schools are facing challenges in implementing distributed leadership models that empower teachers to become influencers and decision makers. ASCD's latest Policy Priorities examines teacher leadership and the obstacles practitioners face from the classroom to the central office in cultivating programs that expand and enhance professional growth and leadership.
In this video, Daniel Pink talks to the Patterson Foundation about the need to upgrade our approach to motivation in schools. He uses the metaphor of an outdated computer operating system to characterize motivational practices that rely on punishments and rewards to elicit desired behavior. Although "carrots and sticks" motivation works well when the outcomes are simple tasks, this is not a suitable operating system for the complex, creative thinking required of 21st century students. Pink recommends upgrading to "motivation 3.0," or an operating system predicated on the principles of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
An independent school leader and public school parent, Chris Thinnes (@CurtisCFEE) is the head of the Upper Elementary School and academic dean at the Curtis School in Los Angeles, Calif., and founding director of its Center for the Future of Elementary Education. He is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools' advisory council on diversity, a member of the EdCamp Foundation's public relations committee, and a fellow of the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence.
I just returned to Los Angeles after the honor of participating in one of the great conversations about the future of education, sitting around a table of district leaders engaged in writing what some have called a "third narrative" of public education in the United States. For days we collaborated in an effort to generate a theory of action, and made concrete commitments to a series of initiatives, that will have an impact on the experience of 2 million children in EdLeader21 member schools and districts in the coming years.
ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers what their schools and districts are doing to develop the technology skills students need to take the Common Core State Standards assessments.
One of the 16 characteristics of an effective school for students ages 10–15 is that teachers, learners, and building leaders should be using multiple assessments to gauge success. Data is collected to gauge learning and instructional success, but there is one other piece of data that also needs to be assessed, analyzed, and acted upon in the middle level: morale. While sometimes elusive, morale is a critical ingredient in the middle school recipe because it affects every instructional dish that is served to our students. But how do we collect, disaggregate, and then act upon morale? How do we pin down such an enigmatic ingredient?
The decisions we make today—for our systems, our schools, and our classrooms—will affect what all of our tomorrows will look like tomorrow. This month ASCD launches its inaugural Whole Child Symposium—a conversation about the future of education comprising three events over eight weeks that includes not only some of the leading educators and thinkers, but also you and your voice.
Choosing Your Tomorrow Today: What does this phrase mean to you? What do you think is most important? What word has the greatest impact, the greatest potential, and the greatest need?
The Future of Schooling: Where are we? Each idea sounds plausible and is probably in the midst of coming true somewhere in the world. Has it or is it coming true? Is the writing on the wall? What can or should we do?