Creative Schools

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Creative Schools by Mind Map: Creative Schools

1. Chapter 1: "Back to Basics" should not refer solely to standards and the 3Rs.

1.1. When Dr. Barron of Smokey Road Middle School wanted to reform her school she started with the basics, but focused last on standards.

1.2. Before teaching the content, educators must get to know the students, their interests and talents.

1.3. Once students feel they are important as individuals and recognized for their individuality and interests, they will perform better academically.

1.4. Students need to feel safe in their environment before they can focus on the curriculum being taught.

2. Chapter 1: The standards movement is not working the way it was intended to in fact, it is having negative effects on student achievement.

2.1. Standards do not accurately measure success.

2.2. National scores have not improved as much as reformers and legislatures had hope. Students cannot be expected to increase their schools in subject tests if their basic needs are not being met.

2.3. U.S. graduation rates are only at about 75%, with nearly 7000 students dropping out each day. (p 20)

2.4. Students who have dropped out of school are more likely to face "long term unemployment, homeless[ness], and welfare," and perhaps incarceration. (p 22) All of these effects strain the economy and go against one of the purposes of education (to prepare students to be economically independent and stable)

3. Chapter 2: Industrialized education no longer works to meet our educational needs.

3.1. The industrial era created a sense of standardization and conformity. However, this does not work in schools since the jobs we are preparing students for are no longer simply standardized and more importantly, the students we teach are not "standardized".

3.2. The compliance that was a part of the industrial period puts limits creativity and imagination for both the students and the teachers.

3.3. With compliance, conformity and standardization we find a lot of waste in terms of individual, innate talents. Schools are not able to strengthen certain talents or abilities because they do not neatly fit in a standardized, mandated curriculum or on the corresponding standardized test.

3.4. By continuing to structure our schools on industrialized education ideas, we alienate a lot of students who feel they do not measure up because what is valued and tested (meaning the standards) are not their strengths.

3.5. Richard Gerver of Grange School recognized the fact that schools were limiting the "intuitive, naturally creative, deeply curious" nature of students and decided to change the focus of the school. (p39) The results showed students who previously had not been successful in their learning become more engaged and better performing.

4. Chapter 2: Seeing education as organic, not industrial is a better approach to reforming schools.

4.1. To increase student success, Robinson says we must create "conditions in which students will flourish". (p 41)

4.2. Education must seen as a living thing, one that needs to be nourished and attended to because our students (as individuals) will only "thrive in certain conditions" and those conditions are not the stagnant, standardized approaches used in industrialized schools. (p 44)

4.3. By changing the focus (or the metaphor) educators can begin fulfilling the purpose of schools/education again. The four principles identified by Robinson are: economic, cultural (understand and respect one's own culture as well as others), social (encourage students to be active and contributing members of society), and personal ("engage students with the world within them as well as the world around them" (p 45)

5. Chapter 3: Schools need to rethink how they serve students.

5.1. Education is a "complex, adoptive system" and should be treated as such. (p 70) The old ways of educating students will no longer work to meet today's needs.

5.2. Schools need to change to meet the needs of the students and the societies in which they live. For example, new technologies are changing our world and the jobs in it. Therefore, schools need to change what is being taught and how it is being taught in order to cover the new knowledge and skills students need to know.

5.3. North Star Center is rethinking how students are taught. One way they are doing is so is by allowing students more choice over their own learning. The result has been a higher level of engagement from the students.

5.4. In Finland, educators have shifted their focus on how best to serve students. They understand that education is organic and evolving. Schools focus more on practical or vocational skills than other "academic" subjects. There is investment in teacher training, support, and collaboration. The result has be consistent high scores on achievement tests.

5.5. Change does not have to happen on a large scale or overnight. Educators do not need to take on policy makers in hopes of creating a better way to support students. Change can start small within one classroom or school at a time, by finding out what the students need and then meeting those needs.

6. Chapter 3: The two most important, vital components in education is the student and the teacher.

6.1. Robinson states that, "The heart of education is the relationship between the student and the teacher." (p. 71) None of the other components (rules, curriculum, etc) matter if this relationship is not supported.

6.2. Each component, the student and the teacher need to be supported and given the tools they need to flourish.

6.3. Students need to be recognized as individuals and treated as such by the teachers.

6.4. Policy makers and principals need to support teachers in such a way that they can best facilitate learning and both reach and teach their students.

7. Chapter 4: Humans are natural born learners, but the way students are regulated or told they have to learn stifles this ability.

7.1. Given the proper tools we are all capable of learning, oftentimes by exploring (or playing) on our own.

7.2. Even with the natural born ability, many students struggle in schools, not because they have lost their ability to learn, but because of how our schools are structured (telling students what they need to learn, when, how much time they have to learn it, etc).

7.3. Practical skills are not focused on or encouraged in schools, rather the focus is on "academic" studies. However, our evolving technologies society need people who are strong in these practical, applicable skills.

8. Chapter 4: Learning needs to be more personalized, no more "conveyor belt" education.

8.1. "Change the system [and] many of [the] problems tend to disappear." (p 81) Restructure schools and the standardized of learning and engagement and achievement will increase and dropout rates will decrease.

8.2. Need to understand and build up the fact that intelligence and learning are both diverse. Not everyone starts at the same place nor learns at the same rate.

8.3. Differentiate and allow students to develop/strengthen their own interests and skills. Allow for more choice.

8.4. Assess what students know and have achieved in different ways. Just as learning should be more personalized for the individual student, so too should students be able to show mastery differently (and not always at the same time).

9. Chapter 5: "Good teachers create the conditions for learning." (p102)

9.1. Teachers should engage students and inspire them. They should support students in unlocking their talents and interests and strengthening them.

9.2. Teachers should enable students by adapting strategies to meet the needs of student and the teaching moment.

9.3. Teachers should set and share their high expectations for students. Student achievement tends to rise when they know they have an advocate, a cheerleader that is rooting for them.

9.4. Teachers should empower students by helping to raise their confidence. "Students who are more confident of their own learning ability, 'learn faster and learn better' They concentrate more and find learning more enjoyable." (p 111)

10. Chapter 5: Good teachers know how to inspire students so that they want to learn and do learn. They do not rely solely on one "sage on the stage" method of teaching.

10.1. Teachers should allow for more active and collaborative learning ("guide on the side").

10.2. Teachers can encourage more active and collaborative learning by using class time more effectively (flipping lessons).

10.3. Teachers can incorporate novelty, entertainment, and make connections to the outside world as a way to draw in students and get them interested in the content.

10.4. Teachers need to have the supportive training and understanding needed to make learning more personalized and meaningful for students. They need to know how to create the strong, nurturing conditions needed for leanring to take palce.

11. Chapter 6: We need to rethink how we are teaching.

11.1. Students should have more choice in what they are learning and the opportunities presented to them should be meaningful, support their interests and strengths.

11.2. Allow for and celebrate student experimentation and failure-"learning that comes from failure-is far too often programmed out of the academic curriculum".

11.3. Schools should allow for more design thinking that calls on students to use cross-disciplinary approaches create, communicate, and collaborate.

11.4. Schools should work with the community as a partner in education. Allow the community to support education and aid in teaching. Connect students to the world around them and allow learning o take place outside of the classroom. "Education is the responsibility of the whole community." (p 148)

11.5. Include vocational education/skills as part of the larger curriculum.

12. Chapter 7: Having standards is good, but testing has taken over schools and hurt education.

12.1. Education tests students in standardized ways, but our students do not come in "standard" versions.

12.2. Teaching to the test, over-testing, over-preparing for tests, hurts the natural curiosity and creativity of students.

12.3. The standard skills that are tested are not those high valued or needed in our society today. Yong Zhao argues that the skills tested in the U.S. are those that "cost less" in the developing world. Meaning, U.S. companies can hire workers in other countries for lower wages to do work requiring the same skills on which students are students are constantly tested. We are not equipping our students with the skills they need to compete in the global market. "The world economy no longer pays you for what you know...[it] pays you for what you can do with what you know." (p 168)

12.4. The assessments are high stakes not only for students, but also for schools and teachers. Because of this, there have been cases of schools "massaging the figures" to make their scores appear better. (p 163)

13. Chapter 8: "Sustaining a vibrant culture of learning is the essential role of the principal"

13.1. The change movement has to have support from the top and in the schools, that is the building principal.

13.2. Strong leadership brings out the best in its team. Principals should support teachers, continued teacher training, and see the potential and needs of students as individuals.

13.3. To create a change that meets the needs of the school, the principal should: develop a shared vision with the staff, personalize the school environment so students do not slip through the cracks, focus on depth of knowledge, real world connections, and assessments that demonstrate student strengths as well as areas that need improving.

14. Chapter 9: The Parent-Community-School tie is an essential relationship needed for successful school reform.

14.1. Parents have to be and feel welcomed into the school community.

14.2. Parents have to be well informed about what is happening in the schools. To be effective, communication has to be done in such ways that parents have access to the information and can understand what is being shared.

14.3. Parents play ( and should play) a larger role in their child's education than just helping with homework. To do this, parents have to partners in educational reform.

15. Chapter 10: To change schools, everyone must be involved in and committed to the process.

15.1. Change within schools can only happen to a certain extent. To create ground up change, schools need the support of policymakers.

15.2. More than just curriculum , policymakers need to focus on providing schools with the resources they need thrive and support four principles of education: health, ecology fairness, and care.

15.3. "Policymakers can facilitate change at all levels schools permission to break old habits in the interests of breaking new ground." (p 234)

15.4. Policymakers, such as politicians, need to use their platforms for reach change, not change that they promote to gain re-election. Policymakers must really care about change.

16. Chapter 10: There are plenty of obstacles to change, but the commitment of a dedicated, determined group can make it happen.

16.1. Educators around the world have seen problems within their communities and fought to change how schools operated, what opportunities they could offer students, and how they would meet the needs of students. Many of these countries spending less on education than the U.S., but allocating their money in better places (such staff development/teacher training) and having better results.

16.2. Some people are hesitant to speak up for change, for fear of some sort of retribution.

16.3. People can be resistant education reforms simply because our public schools have been operating the same way for so long. "People need to believe that there are good reasons for changing and that the place the aim to be will be better than they are now" and that the effort will be worth it in the end. (249-250)

17. Chapter 9: Identifying the challenges and benefits of parental involvement.

17.1. Parents may want to be involved but their involvement is limited because of time constraints, not knowing or understanding what is happening, or not know how to get involved. Schools also need to know how to work those parents that might be too involved ("helicopter parents").

17.2. Parent involvement can help schools better understand the students they are serving.

17.3. Parent involvement can help schools tackle bigger issues than they alone can handle (lobbying policymakers, having a louder voice at school board meetings, pooling resources, etc).

18. Chapter 8: Great schools connect to the wider community of which they and their students are a part.

18.1. Build the curriculum around student interests and watch them perform "at higher levels in all areas" of their schooling. (p 184)

18.2. Connect to real world, authentic situations/problems that students are likely to encounter after school.

18.3. Allow students to connect to the world outside of school, let them interact with and learn from the wider community, much like the leadership at Clark University has done.

19. Chapter 7: Assessment needs to support student learning and achievement, not be seen solely as a measure of it.

19.1. Because students are not standardized in how they learn, their assessments should not be standardized. Instead, assessments need to be varied.

19.2. Assessment, when done well, can increase engagement and learning. (Motivation and Achievement)

19.3. Assessments that can be used by students and parents make learning more meaningful than those used only by teachers. For example, learning rubrics, portfolios, etc.

19.4. Schools need to agree upon the skills/knowledge they want their graduates to have prior to establishing assessments. This will help to shape meaningful assessments and provide students the skills and understandings they need to be a contributing member of their community.

20. Chapter 6: We need to rethink what is taught.

20.1. The curriculum being taught needs to be diverse, allow for depth and dynamism. (p 157)

20.2. The curriculum needs to not only align with the purpose of education, but also equip students with certain competencies they will need for in their lives: curiosity, creativity, criticism, communication, collaboration, compassion, composure, citizenship.

20.3. Since students will be living in an interconnected world, we need to start focusing on the connections and interactions between different subjects. To do this, we need to shift the focus from teaching separate "subjects" to teaching disciplines-how the different subjects are interconnected..