I got to work this morning, started my laptop and sat down to read the newest issue of Educational Leadership (May 2008; Vol. 65, No. 8) from ASCD. The entire issue is on reshaping high schools. I'll be honest with you - I read the articles and a real passion for change was ignited.
Then I began to read new blog postings and came across a posting from Dr. Scott McLeod of Dangerously Irrelevant, So What if Schools Don't Prepare Students for the 21st Century?, who had also received and read the same issue. Scott helped to bring me back down to reality - which is not a bad thing.
Scott helped me to realize that everything that is said in this issue has been said before - many times before. He has several references in his blog (which I highly recommend you read...) to past "nay-sayers" of education and the direction education has gone/is going. It really helped me to understand that, and I feel especially in education, we like to do a lot of talking and not a lot of doing.
Please understand I am not saying this to encourage educators to throw up their hands in frustration and become educator hermits. I am saying this to encourage action. Understanding theory and having those conversations is very important, but words without actions are just words.
How will this time - maybe - be different? It will be if the teachers make a stand. This change has to be one teacher at a time and those teachers have to be 21st century teachers. These teachers understand that learning is student-centered and not teacher-centered. These teachers understand that it's not what we teach (always), but how it's being taught. There is a need, at times, for curricula at the basic level to change, but there are fundamental things that will always need to be taught. 2+2 will always be 4 and you will always spell the word cat, C-A-T.
Again - I am not implying that curriculum is infallible, but more often than not I feel it's the instruction part that can use the most change. Making the move in the classroom from "it's all about me (the teacher)" to "it's all about them (the students)".
Be the change! Make the difference!