I read this article recently that articles so clearly an important problem I see in education. I’m not writing this to criticize educational leaders I know or to say that there aren’t other equally important problems, but I do see this as part of working toward the future of education.
Schools are changing. Slowly but surely people in education are recognizing that the factory model system and mass standardization are no longer the best ways to educate our youth. The problem, beyond the outdated infrastructure and the inadequate budget to replace them, is also the leadership that grew up as part of that model and fails to innovate outside of it. It is clear that schools are doing their part to update the technology in the schools, but in some cases there is no leadership for adopting and utilizing this technology effectively. Certainly there are educational leaders out there who are supporting great shifts in instructional technologies and school-wide practicies, but the majority of leaders don’t even know the possibilities.
As with everything in education, this is also of problem of time and resources. I am fortunate enough to work in a district where I have plenty of resources. There are great tools at my disposal, but I still don’t have the time as a teacher to learn how to use them well in my lessons. I know this is the number one problem for all those in education. However, there are things leaders can do to increase the amount of time spent learning about instructional technology and thereby to transform the school environment.
I think the first step is professional development and staff meetings. Too often I go to these staff obligations merely because I have to. The staff sits and listens to someone talk at them or passively watches a video, which is exactly what we learn to not put our students through if we expect them to be engaged. I don’t remember many meetings where teachers talked to each other and discussed issues in the school or even just conversed about what good things they were doing in their classes. In fact, I think the pervading attitude is that teachers work in isolation by design because they don’t want to agree with others on how things should be run. Naturally this only hurts the students.
Schools need drastic transformations in order to accomplish today’s educational goals. All of this starts with leaders who have vision and innovation. I am excited to be working in education at this moment when all of these things are coming to the forefront. I already have a great impact leading fellow teachers, but I hope to effect greater changes some day.