Ken Robinson gave recently a fabulous presentation called "How to escape education's Death Valley."
"Teaching, properly conceived, is not a delivery system. You know, you're not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage."
He talks about the difference between the "task" and the "fulfillment" of a verb: like "dieting"...are we dieting or actually getting a result? (His example.) We can be engaged in the activity of teaching, but is there actual learning going on?
"We all create our own lives through this restless process of imagining alternatives and possibilities, and what one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop these powers of creativity."
"And by the way, the arts aren't just important because they improve math scores. They're important because they speak to parts of children's being which are otherwise untouched."
"The point is that education is not a mechanical system. It's a human system. It's about people, people who either do want to learn or don't want to learn."
(Speaking of "alternative educational programs") " These are programs designed to get kids back into education. They have certain common features. They're very personalized. They have strong support for the teachers, close links with the community and a broad and diverse curriculum, and often programs which involve students outside school as well as inside school. And they work. What's interesting to me is, these are called "alternative education." You know? And all the evidence from around the world is, if we all did that, there'd be no need for the alternative."
"Great leaders know that. The real role of leadership in education -- and I think it's true at the national level, the state level, at the school level -- is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn't have expected.
There's a wonderful quote from Benjamin Franklin. "There are three sorts of people in the world: Those who are immovable, people who don't get, they don't want to get it, they're going to do anything about it. There are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it. And there are people who move, people who make things happen." And if we can encourage more people, that will be a movement. And if the movement is strong enough, that's, in the best sense of the word, a revolution. And that's what we need."
From the mother of sons, please listen to this excellent talk on educating to get people to learn. The man is funny, engaging, and amazing. Take 20 minutes. Do it :)...
(I think I am going to watch it once a week :)...at least for a while.)
Another fun link to watch is the following, of a school within a public school where a group of kids came together to direct their own education:
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea." Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Inspiration, hunger: these are the forces that drive good schools. The best we educational planners can do is create the most likely conditions for them to flourish and then get out of their way."--Ted Sizer