David Warlick had a great quote on his blog today:
I’m sure most of us when reading that quote see it as the great, timely idea that it is. Unfortunately there are two roadblocks.
- How exactly do we do that?
- How many teachers, when told how to integrate the curriculum into “real world” experiences, acknowledge that it’s nice and then continue with business as usual?
Obviously #1 is the first snag that must be addressed, especially for those of us with mandatory state, county, or local curriculums. I would propose that we look at our planning backwards – like teaching to the test, but in this case the “test” is surviving after graduation.
What skills will students need when job descriptions are constantly changing? (I won’t list those here, if you’re reading this you probably already have a good idea.) Those are the parts of the curriculum that need to be reinforced the most. Even if you have a rigid curriculum you should still have some wriggle room to get the ball rolling.
The 2nd roadblock is much more difficult. Inertia is a horrible thing to overcome, and teachers who were innovative ten, twenty, and thirty years ago have eroded away a nice rut. They’re comfortable, the students are learning (albeit not what they need to learn…), and they’re tenured, so why change?
We need to show those teachers how much better the change can be.