CES Fall Forum: Day One

Today I worked in an all-day session on creating student-led classrooms at the CES Fall Forum in Providence, Rhode Island. The presenters asked us to think about traditional models of schooling and scrutinize their rationales. As you would expect, they went on to argue that learning should be in service of exploring student wonderings and in places students learn best.

While I felt the session was mostly just a rehashing of CES principles in the classroom with a few examples of how that looks in an Honors (odd, I thought, given that CES ideals don't really lend themselves to tracking students) English classroom, it was energizing to be around so many people who understand education like I do.

Putting yourself in a place where you can imagine applying the CES principles with any population of students successfully takes time, professional growth, and a particular set of beliefs about how society should be.

There are a few things I heard today that I think are worth sharing.

  • Teachers need to model intellectual work in their community, but they are rarely afforded the time
  • Locus of learning shouldn’t always be in the classroom
  • The role of the teacher must shift to that of broker, facilitator, and coach. They’re not content experts anymore. The expertise should exist and be accessed outside of the school.
  • Schools and teachers that do truly great, revolutionary work don’t ask permission. They just start doing great work on their own
  • There is virtually nobody in the education community that feels the testing movement is going to improve schools
  • Things that pass for innovation these days: add an hour to the school day, grading schools, offering more AP opportunities
  • Charter schools were originally thought of as an opportunity to challenge the existing paradigm, but most charters today have simply mimicked elite private schools of the 1950s  
  • In order for something to change in high school, everything needs to change
  • The current reform climate, we've led to believe that front-line educators are not to be trusted to make reform decisions or be a part of our accountability schemes
More from the CES Fall Forum tomorrow.


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