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Ever since I put the Kindle App on my phone, I have been buying e-books. Buying books on Kindle is ranking up there with trips to Home Depot, OfficeMax, and Costco. The first e-book I bought was The Confident Speaker, by Harrison Monarth, because a colleague recommended it as we were planning a presentation for a state conference. The content was good, and learned some tricks to improve my presentation discourse. After that, I bought Focus, by Mike Schmoker. According to the app, I have read 29% of the book. There are great points in the book, which have made me reflect on our current teaching practices in the classroom. I have put that book on hold as now I am reading Anthony Muhammad’s Transforming School Culture. I have not finished reading the book (63% complete), but it has prompted me to think about what I have read so far and write this blog to confirm the need to implement the Common Core State Standards as the vehicle to drive curriculum.
Are you a Believer or Fundamentalist?
Anthony Muhammad discusses 4 types of educators, which I will focus on two of them; believers and fundamentalists. Believers are those educators that believe that all students can succeed and are willing to expect positive change in schools to improve learning. Believers put students first. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, believe in maintaining the status quo and will do what it takes to reject any school reform or change. It is the self-interest that comes before student learning in a fundamentalist’s frame of mind. So, which camp do you fall into? I will guess that if you have been reading our blogs, you are a believer, one that sees the need to improve student learning by means of improving our curriculum, assessments and instruction. But, I am sure you work with many fundamentalists who are trying to persuade you to stay status quo, right? So how can we collectively improve student learning and prepare our students for the opportunities and challenges they face?
2 ideas to move the change train forward
Stop the insanity
Albert Einstein said it best.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
As believers, we see the need to revitalize curriculum to better prepare our students. The status quo of teaching content, testing content, and moving on to the next chapter will not prepare our children for the 21st century society. Instead, we must focus on skills, skills that will drive our curriculum in the core classes. It is the believers, the teacher-leaders, that can create a positive wave of change, to begin to understand that our current curriculum should revolve around skills and Common Core standards.
Lead the way
As believers, we understand that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that contains the answers. Change is a process. We must create the rainbow, color by color, because through the hard work of restructuring curriculum, an everlasting pot of gold will eventually be created, which our students can draw from and use. Continue to read, seek professional connections, and share your successes with colleagues.
One main theme throughout our existence has been the need to revitalize curriculum around the Common Core State Standards. Implementing the Common Core provides the framework to begin having those conversations with other Believers so that positive change can happen. Restructuring curriculum takes time and energy. We can easily decide to stay status quo and complacent and do as we have done. But, are we doing our students justice by doing the same old thing, over and over again, knowing that it is not working for all kids? I am a believer and will do what I can to convert one fundamentalist at a time so they can too help build that rainbow.