When we’re caught in a moment when we really don’t know what to do next, isn’t it safer just to do what we’ve always done?
Like, let’s just keep creating the five-year plan even though we have little idea what five years from now will look like.
Or let’s keep teaching the same curriculum even though the existential conversations and contexts in the world today are rendering much of what we teach irrelevant.
Let’s just keep competition at the core of the school experience even though it’s clear the arc of the world must bend toward cooperation.
And by all means, let’s constrain and limit our use and understanding of technology even though technology is impacting almost every aspect of our lives in both good and nefarious ways.
What would happen if, in response to not knowing, we did something different? What if we met not knowing with more not knowing?
We don’t know what would happen if we ditched the plan, cut the curriculum, stopped the ranking and sorting and grading, and worked to open access rather than close it. But that strategy would certainly generate all sorts of new learning, learning that may just help us make more sense of what to do next.
Because when everything around you is breaking, standing pat probably isn’t the best strategy.
Mary Martin says
I taught in an “Open” school in Colorado for 21 years. It is a public school of choice. It began in 69-70. It is still going strong and it is a shining example of a successful school that has always been about real and pertinent learning, community responsibility, and individualized instruction. It is such a joy!
Maria Sommer says
I graduated in 81 in Minneapolis. I didn’t attend an open school, but my older and younger sisters did. I stayed in a continuous progress model through middle school and then a somewhat traditional HS, where the open school program was housed as well. It’s amazing to me that we’re still having this conversation as if an open school type model, or even continuous progess, hasn’t already been proven to work.