Sunday, June 24, 2007

Raising test scores with 21st Century Skills

Wow...the title of this session is every administrator's DREAM. How can we do BOTH.
Ian Jukes will tell you exactly how and if you EVER get a chance to hear him speak, I would highly recommend it. If you are in charge of curriculum in your district you absolutely must take a look at the handouts page he has put together.
He started his session by telling us that his job is not to educate, irritate...give swift kick in your assumptions and looking at things from a different point of view. He talked about how educators have an unconscious mindset for what education should be...and quoted Lou Salza who said it is "easier to change the course of history than to change a history course…" TTWADI—that’s the way we’ve always done it. Pervasive unconscious way we do things and his societal examples were astounding. Having small children, I really connected with the analogy he made of parents teaching child how to walk independently...they continue to try and fail until they finally get it right. Yet even when they are failing, we encourage them until they do succeed. Why is it that we know intuitively that we need to prepare kids for independence and yet we continue to create a culture of dependence in our schools?

But he didn't just talk about the problems. He also gave some solutions. He said we need to start to plan with the end in mind. According to Dale's Cone of Learning we remember only 10% of what we read 20% of what we hear 30 % of what we see but 90 % of what we do. His idea was to use a 4 D approach: Design, Define, Develop, Debrief.

Here are some of my notes on the approach:
1. Define: have you ever given a kid an assignment and gotten back something TOTALLY different from what you expect: ready fire aim they need to know exactly what they need to know before they go out to do it. At the define stage, the kids need to identify what skills they need to complete task
• Need to define in performance terms
• Must know before they begin how that performance is going to be assessed. Determined in advance. Tell me what you think I just asked you to do…define it in performance terms
2. Design: Have you ever done a garden without thinking through it? Providing a step by step plan in advance—prevents wasted effort and a logical strategy. In the design stage things look good. Ask kids to come up with a plan in advance: Might be working in community, parents, internet…doesn’t matter WHO they learn from as long as they learn it—they have been raised in a culture of dependency—unconsciously they feel that their assessment should be from decontextualized source—if you are not going ot lecture me, how am I going to get help—instead of TELLING them what to do, I am creating a dialogue—
• Determine what needs to be done
• Determine the skills you need to do it

3. Develop: DO IT—put plan into action. Put paper into action. Kids asked to create a real life product. This is NOT a linear process—when we design a project there are always hiccups, always problems. It is EXACTLY like the writing process—we ask them to apply what they learn to perform THE END PRODUCT is important, but in order to improve the product you have to reflect on the process

4. Debrief: Debug CANEI constant and never ending improvement. Right now focus is on the product of learning, not the process of learning. In real life the responsibility of work happens long after the product…to prepare them for their future (not our comfort zone) need to foster independence and self reflection: What was learned, how was it learned, what were the obstacles, what would I do differently. If focus is only on the end product,
Job is not look smart—shift responsibility of learning from me to them
When kids grad from HS, they shouldn’t need us anymore

We HAVE to have the opportunity to FAIL in school there is no success without failure. There is no BIG success without BIG failure….Edison failed 1,000 times when making light bulbs rather than focusing on each attempt, he now knew 1000 ways how NOT to make a light bulb.

I thought the interaction....the how can we do this in OUR schools was the best part of the session. So let's hear it, how CAN we do this in our schools.

1 comment:

  1. Nice job with the process. Ready, Fire, Aim is now part of my PD vocab.