Last week I spent a chunk of time talking education with a couple of family members, one of whom is a teacher at a “high performing” district in Connecticut. It was a pretty aimless conversation, but it kept coming back to a certain question: “Why do we do that, again?” And a certain response: “It just makes no sense.” We must of said that at least a half dozen times in a 45-minute conversation.
I know I’ve riffed on this before, and I don’t want to do a deep dive into it again, but it still astounds me the extent to which we in education look at our practice and fully acknowledge that it’s hard to justify in a developing-kids-as-learners context, but we just keep doing it anyway. Easier for us vs. better for kids. Trying to do the wrong thing right. Etc.
Today while I was working with a group of educators in Central Pennsylvania, I decided to use that as the starting point for a discussion on why we need to rethink, really rethink schools.
And the ensuing conversation reminded me that the “Why?” question is really not so much about why we do the things we do…tradition, nostalgia, training and more. We all get the history.
The real “Why?” question is “why do we keep doing the things we do?”