Common lunch time, after work socials, ‘check-in’ meetings, team building activities, common work hours… there are many conventions that bring staff and work communities together that will change, and ‘undermine’ (?) the social fabric of previously positive work cultures.
There seems to be a lot of discussion about technology as the answer, but Naomi Klein suggests we could also re-imagine the spaces and the way we work within them:
[Eric] Schmidt is right that overcrowded classrooms present a health risk, at least until we have a vaccine. So how about hiring double the number of teachers and cutting class size in half? How about making sure that every school has a nurse?
What McCoy had done in Huntington was exactly the kind of thing Republicans claim to celebrate. She wasn’t a Washington bureaucrat telling people to do it her way, or no way at all; she was a well-intentioned local who had figured out what made sense for her community and acted on it.
There’s a settlement in Antarctica with a school, a post office and a huddle of homes. It’s like other sub-zero villages, except for one thing: families must have surgery to move in.
Proposal: Changing your high school structures to match the thinking of Finland, New Zealand, Ken Robinson, and many others will halve your class sizes and stress levels.
It’s easier implemented as a full school and not in a seperate programme.
Teachers design a menu of interdisciplinary projects based around themes or phenomenon that have a focus on key existing curriculum.
All non-teaching / personal time slots are simultaneous for all. This means all teachers, rooms and resources are timetabled for simultaneous use, meaning each teacher shares the load and you have smaller student numbers to monitor on either a project and mentor group.
Consider Zoning groups of classrooms into Project zones. The usual 5 teachers from 5 rooms are timetabled into the zone to each mentor their smaller number of students.
All teachers take on a general academic mentoring group to focus on learning and project progress.
Teachers share the planning and monitoring of projects which makes the measuring of progress more palatable than traditional standardised teaching and marking.
Projects can be designed generically enough around a theme or phenomenon that they can be simultaneously offered to different age groups with appropriate expectations for outcomes. This can save teacher workload.
My only concern is that not every school is even in a position to be competitive. This is beyond ‘vouchers’ in my opinion and relates to policy and priorities. Where I live, they have a special science school decked out with the latest and greatest, including mahogany trims around the door. Then down the road there is the ‘local’ with its asbestos risen classrooms. The science school is select entry and clearly has a different funding arrangement. This does not even touch on the problems of private verses public.
In an ideal world there would be equal access for all, but when some select entries soak up all the cash it just does not seem right?
The ability of schools, even the most visionary, to match the learning with the digital provided outside the school walls, is impossible. Schools as public institutions controlled by government, bureaucrats, resourcing, working conditions, legislation, law, accountability requirements, inflexible organizational structures and history can never respond to the accelerating digital evolution and transformation in the same way as the highly agile digitally connected families of the world. Even if governments wanted its schools to change, or indeed to collaborate with the families.