My Dream School

Recently, I have engaged with colleagues at my place of work to respond to the question, “What will school look like in 5 years?” We were encouraged to dream about the possibilities of what might be….

Therefore, in the spirit of messiness and complexity, and with the understanding that relational trust is all important, I put together this piece of “My Dream School”.

My dream school is one which strives to develop literate and numerate students who harness the power of digital technology to become ‘self-regulated learners’. Students would do this through learning opportunities which provide them with greater choice of subject matter, learning methods and pace of study. Furthermore, I dream of a school where students are granted the autonomy to challenge themselves and take risks to collaborate, co-create and think critically through learning experiences which are relevant to the real world.

As such, my Dream School acknowledges every student with the dignity and respect they deserve through the provision of student voice and student agency. The school supports of parents as the primary educators, enables children to become young adults who can recognise, have access to, and take up opportunities that will grow them as compassionate people with integrity and moral strength to make right and just decisions.

I dream with the end in mind and use the following questions to provoke thought

  • What will be required of students when they leave school?
  • What will be required of students who started Year 7 this year and leave school in 2020?
  • What will be required of Kindergarten students who leave school in 2027?

Furthermore, this Dream School prepares students for post school life in a world which is increasingly a different one to when their parents left school. In saying that, we must remember, the world will be different for our students in their early years of primary school as compared to our students due to graduate at the end of this year. Principles for Future Employees guides my thinking…..

7_principles_of_the_future_employeehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/11/11/the-7-principles-of-the-future-employee/

I dream of a school where we dare attempt to measure ‘hard to measure skills’ of communication, collaboration, critical thinking creativity, innovation and leadership.  Why? because those skills, rather than test scores, will be more important for students in the world that awaits them…..

I dream of a school where we value teamwork as much as individual brilliance. Let me explain…..

American University, Professor Stephen Courtwright argues that organisations, especially in technology, are more than likely to be team based. He cites longitudinal survey of Fortune 1,000 companies which found in 1980 that less than 20 percent of companies had team-based structures; in 1990 that became 50 percent, and by the year 2000, 80. Now, almost all have 100% team-based. He then concludes, “It is more important for children to be taught how to gain the trust of teams, rather than the adoring approval of their manager.”

Martin Luther King said, “I have a Dream!” He did not say, “I have a Strategic Plan”. It is in that spirit, but very much without the charisma and courage, I offer (and in no particular order) …..

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where big, open-ended questions are valued more than answers for closed, state based, mandated tests.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where Teach Meets and Dream Meets occur more regularly than Staff Meetings.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where Vision and Trust inform School Annual Plans as much, if not more than data.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where Digital Literacy and Network Literacy are valued as much, and measured as often, as English Literacy.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where Maker Spaces are seen as Learning Spaces;
  • Where Coding sits as a subject along-side English and Maths; and,
  • Where students do not ask, “Miss, does this count towards my report?”

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where digital technologies are used for real time reporting and even replace summative semester reports that can be up to five months old.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where classrooms look like playgrounds and playgrounds are seen as classrooms.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where BOSTES mandated hours are delivered to their minimum, therefore freeing up time students to engage in self-regulated interest projects where they set the marking criteria and then have peers provide feedback without marks or grades.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where a teacher is judged as much as the ‘colour’ of their classroom as they are on the ‘content’ they deliver.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where the timetable serves the needs of learning rather than the delivery of subjects.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where risk is valued more than compliance!
  • Where questions are followed by more questions rather than the quickest answer we can find; and,
  • Where the process of learning is valued, measured and assessed as much as the end product.

I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….

  • Where teachers work with other teachers and teams of students by planning, preparing and co-creating real world learning experiences .

Finally, I DREAM OF A SCHOOL….where student voice and student agency inform more than strategic plans and annual goals.After all, schools look radically different when we see it through the eyes of children. This requires teachers to unlearn and relearn their role.

WHAT DOES YOUR DREAM SCHOOL LOOK LIKE?

 

4 thoughts on “My Dream School

  1. I love your thinking Greg. Why can’t we realise this dream right now? Let’s lead the charge. I don’t see any reason why we can’t. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  2. Great post Greg. Love the list of ideas you end with. I wonder how your statements would read as ‘how might we’ questions?
    I remember writing a ‘dream’ post of my own a while back (http://readwriterespond.com/?p=47). However, I was left wondering afterwards what a collaboratively constructed ‘dream’ might look like? Is it possible?
    Will continue to wonder what ideas I might be holding onto too tightly.

  3. Hi Greg, this is a powerful manifesto and I think you would find many educators who would be on board with your dream/vision.
    I’m left wondering which dreams you are working on making happen at your school now? Which would you consider to be the key pillars? Your dream would completely disrupt education and this would be for the better. Great post!

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