At last January’s Educon 2.1 Conference I enjoyed the great privilege of serving on a panel discussion about school reform with a number of impressive educators. For eight months I have been carrying around the notes I wrote for my opening with the intent of publishing them online.
The following list is designed to stimulate thought and dialogue. The points are made in no particular order of importance.
- We must not rank or sort children.
- The teachers and parents within a particular school community should make all curriculum decisions.
- Every child is entitled to a rich joyous education filled with art, music, drama, computer science, apprenticeship experiences and access to high-interest reading materials during the school day.
- Teachers must never yell at children.
- Regardless of factors outside of school – including poverty and other social pathologies – the classroom should be an oasis representing the best 6-7 hours of a child’s day.
- We must not punish children for the sins of adults.
- Every child is entitled to a talented, loving, passionate professional teacher who herself continues to learn and grow in a setting free of fear or coercion.
- It is wrong to be mean to children.
- It should not be surprising when children are kind or do extraordinary work. It should be expected.*
- External assessment is always disruptive and interferes with learning.
- Learning is natural
*new item added when I assembled this post
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.