We’ve been looking at the three basic transformation equations for districts and school systems. These are not problems but, rather, they are equations that we can resolve to ensure we are not just tweaking and reforming our education frontier.
In the opportunity to leverage all we have now, we must transform. And if we transform, we aren’t merely solving immediate problems. We are resolving longtime equations that create an infrastructure and sustainability that will transform our entire future and capacity.
The first equation addresses the district leader being the architect designing the balance of technology and teacher for every classroom. How we deliver content is significant. And it’s the variable that has controlled academic environments for years.
The district leader resolves that first equation, personalizing each classroom, using the available resources and ingredients.
The second equation is the classroom element. The teacher in the classroom is a designer of learning systems. The altitude, flight path, of the teacher for each learner is the point of contact for the learner.
The third agility equation addresses the individual learner. “Freedom and fences”. A learner has access to content. We have been created to learn and content can be delivered. And the learning capacity is personalized in the learner. Rather than molding to a teaching style, learners in a learning environment benefit from a personalized opportunity.
If we know that learning is personalized, we have to also know that learners are not going to respond the same. Two major factors determine the capacity……..
Morivation of the learner and Engagement of the educator
We must champion student empowerment. We are breaking away from the “same pace” mentality. Though it makes the organization of the learning system a bit more complex, we have to empower students in decision-making and content progress.
But as we’ve said often, “Pacing is poison but drowning is just as dangerous”. In other words, we can’t leave them alone to drown in discouragement and failure to progress. Empowerment doesn’t mean leaving them alone. We must be engaged. And that engagement is focused on the learner.
Empowerment is freedom. And, if a learner doesn’t need me, he should be able to make decisions and move forward in that freedom. But some people don’t respond to freedom as well as others. Maybe it’s self-discipline, or an insufficient foundation of previous material or maybe it’s behavioral issues. But some learners may need some fences.
We cannot abandon our responsibility for the sake of looking like we are innovative. Don’t forget, the measurement of innovation is not the number of computers, it’s not the cool technology and it’s not the lack of lecture.
At this juncture of change and transformation, we have to know that the opporuntity to give more focused time for the teacher is the opportunity to give more engagement time for the learner. Yes, we should empower the learner. And it’s best to consider that freedom first and foremost. But building fences isn’t the greatest mistake, if the learner needs some fences.
How much structure will this student need to progress? It would be nice to generalize our environment and have students conform to “room rules”, meant to apply to everybody equally. But that’s not the reality of the transformed learning system. We have to always resolve the third agility equation. How much freedom, and how much fencing, does this student need?
Agility Equation #1 – The district leader, as architect, balances the technology and teacher for each classroom.
Agility Equation #2 – The classroom teacher, as designer, determines the altitude needed in the classroom.
Agility Equation #3 – The learner progresses with a balance of freedom and structure that benefits from motivation and engagement.
Thats transformation. Some are achieving this now and, once we organize the broad strategy, we can all achieve it.