As Jamie Reverb and Lee Burns write in this fine and valuable piece, among the most important in NAIS Independent School magazine in recent years, it is not enough any longer to discuss what might be aspects of 21st century learning, it is time to “actually start being 21st century schools.”
There’s a tendency to continue to do school as usual — tweaking things, rather than embracing serious and necessary innovation.
The authors organize their article, and their work at Lee’s school, Presbyterian Day School (PDS), around Google’s Nine Principles of Innovation.
Ideas Come from Everywhere.
At PDS, they are cracking open the walls of their campus to engage with and study cool developments happening all over the world. For me, the most important suggestion here is what they are doing with faculty meetings:
At PDS, we have restructured faculty meetings and retreats so that the focus is far less on logistics and far more on provocative questions that engage all of us in discussions.
We are working to reinvent faculty meetings too, at St. Gregory, in these same ways– both in full sessions, and in our incredibly valuable Critical Friends Groups, where there are many “provocative questions” being pursued.
Share everything you can
The argument here is for transparency in schools, and that we find every way we can to put ideas and actions out into the ether to be seen and considered.
Schools are siloed geographically with their egg-carton designs and siloed psychologically with their role-specific emphasis.
Knock down the opaque walls, I frequently call for, literally and metaphorically. I adore our series of classrooms with glass walls along the walkways because of the signal that they send that learning is visible at St. Gregory. (more…)