ShiftED, Lumen Touch, & KCedu presents…
Last Tuesday, during another amazing Lumen8 Session, we discussed letting students walking into an empty classroom and spending the first week of school designing their own space based on their own needs. We were thrilled to hear that two teachers in the Kansas City, Kansas School District were piloting just that idea.
There are many benefits to this. First, the students feel a sense of ownership over their own learning. All teachers understand that controlling the classroom space has a strong effect on students’ learning. Having students take ownership over that process will have an even greater affect.
Second, it will let students have a deeper understanding of how they should and want to act in a classroom. This way, the learning deviates from a “teacher gives and student takes” model to a more “teachers and students are partners in learning” model.
A great blog post on Edutopia outlines this even further, and gives some good research validation.
As the school year gears up, happy classroom set up!
Having a diverse faculty is really important, especially in today’s more diverse and global world. But oftentimes it is difficult to recruit diverse faculty because there need to be shifts in the systems of hiring.
Over at the National Association for Independent Schools, they have a great set of guidelines to use, but most notably they talk about trying to understand that diversity recruitment is a different animal. It is a form of recruitment that deals with image, history, implicit bias, and many other things.
We talk a lot about student centered learning. Not just the education community at large, we specifically mean at the Lumen Touch office. This summer, we have a cohort of some amazing Lumen8 Educators spending the summer with us to bridge the gap between the community and the classroom!
We spoke a lot about letting students own the classroom, counting on them to present to the outside community, and have other be the final arbiters of grades.
Read on for more techniques, on the classroom, building, and district level!
There are many people who follow national politics vigorously but ignore the local. They understand American history, but not their local history. They vote in national elections but not in their municipal ones.
This is wrong. Teaching has taught me that the bread and butter of American democracy exists on the local level. Local politicians make many decisions that affect our daily lives directly.
To that end, I have been trying to understand Kansas City history much more critically. Thankfully, KCUR has compiled the perfect summer reading list for local understanding! This list encompasses race, Native American history, cultural and political history, and even some locally set fiction.
Read on for some happy rainy day couch reading!
Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, recently gave an amazing commencement address at Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York, where he outlined the challenges facing teachers today. But this was not a negative speech. It clearly outlines the issues and gives a call to action, one that is powerful and succinct.
He starts by highlighting the extraordinary nature of teachers:
“With courage, you have chosen to enter or advance in the nation’s most critical profession, at a time when selfish and misguided elites have made public education, and its teachers, scapegoats for the unacceptable racial and economic inequality that those elites have permitted, indeed encouraged, to persist and grow in America.”
Then he poses the difficult questions that he proceeds to tackle:
“This leaves you, the graduates, with a burning question you will spend your teaching careers, at least for the foreseeable future, pondering: How do you do the good work for which Bank Street has prepared you, within a system that may undermine your efforts and thwart your students’ education?”
The call to action is short and sweet:
“Dedicated teachers devote a lot of attention, and anguish, to considering these ethical dilemmas. They do so mostly in private, sometimes with their colleagues, sometimes only with their spouses or partners, sometimes only to themselves. If I can summon up the arrogance to make any recommendation to you, it is to consider how you can make your anguish more public.”
It is important for teachers to be part of the public conversation, have open dialogue and speak truth to power. Join the conversation below in comments, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full transcript of the speech was published by the Washington Post.