Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another new thing...or is it?

Friday afternoon at school our leadership team met with Dr. John Norris, a consultant to our school district's central office. He brought encouraging news of a new process to help our district reach its educational goals. He made a point of noting the fact that it is a process rather than a product. This is a real change in a district that spent a lot of time and money seeking silver-bullet programs that could be bought, imported and executed.

My time in this district has been punctuated with a new program every year! Perhaps the assumption was that teachers are not adequately trained, or perhaps that they are lazy --- you know the old saw..."those who can do and those who can't teach." The search was for the right program --- one that even a caveman could use. The issue is much more complex, and whether this new initiative can help remains to be seen, but John posed a question at the conclusion of his presentation which left me pondering. Did I wish to be on the metaphorical bus?

This bus, bound toward a more positive future, filled with possibility--did I want a seat? Could I be part of a team to recreate our building culture? Change -- the word sounds great. BUT exactly what change in culture is sought? I think that this is the crucial question --- which must be clearly defined --- otherwise we won't be able to identify our success or failure.

Whether we like it or not, the whole of what we are about in education is vastly changed for we live in a world where print media are disappearing, broadcast is dieing and narrow-cast allows for us to hear only one voice in an argument. Technology has provided the vehicle for these changes, and even though it is not immediately apparent from the curriculum or our surroundings, the change is quite palpable. If you doubt this please look at this presentation from TED. Where is the bus stop?