Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Flat World and Education

Will Richardson has written another great post called "Disposable Reform" based on an interiew by Steve Hargadon with Linda Darling-Hammond that covered, for the most part, the ideas in her new book “The Flat World and Education”. Her main point is:

“Progressive educational philosophies, that is approaches that are child-centered, that are really focused on empowering forms of learning that allow people to inquire for themselves and pursue knowledge in self-initiated ways as well as in other ways, those kinds of reforms demand infinitely skilled teachers, and our system has never been organized to produce infinitely skilled teachers in sufficient qualities to fuel those reforms over the long haul.”

You can listen to the first part of the interview below.


Richardson goes on to say that so many of the improvement initiatives handed down to schools are of the "change de jour" type and are done before they have had a chance to take affect. He also says that so much of what we ask children to produce in schools (assignments, projects, tests, activities) is disposable as well. He concludes,

"I mean really, how much of what we actually have our kids do in school is really worth hanging onto in a “change the world” sense?"

Is he expecting too much from schools? Can we expect children to change the world? Are teachers incapable of changing the school system so that they are progressive, child centered, empowering students to be inquiring and self-directed? Do teachers have the skills and training to change the direction and focus of schools? Do they have the interest?

How do you answer these questions?

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