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A simple revelation

Posted by phourigan on April 23, 2010

Okay, not really a revelation.  I was talking to my brother, who is an assistant head of middle school and history teacher in New York.  He had his class working on a long term project but with a very simple twist: the students set their own deadlines.  Many long-term projects have multiple deadlines and the students always scramble because they either don’t write them down or don’t pay attention to them until the last minute; after all, the deadlines are completely arbitrary and assigned by the teacher.

But if we put that power in their hands . . . I’m intrigued by what might happen.  Unfortunately, it plays into the fear of many teachers that they will no longer be in control.  This is a huge stumbling block that we have to overcome if we’re going to move forward with education.

Part of the great conversation at PLP was about collaboration and rewarding the risk takers.  In today’s economic climate, just about everyone is looking over his shoulder just trying not to screw up.  Schools should be out front encouraging their teachers to take chances on innovative opportunities.  Paranoia doesn’t really belong in schools.


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