Monday, December 28, 2015

Greed, competition, and selfishness - the current DNA of schooling

WARNING; I've been watching too much news.

Greed, competition, and selfishness continue to thrive in schools that use traditional subjects and report cards to value a child's worth. Focusing on the shallow goal of "career ready" skills, "test preparation", the SAT, and university essays on "What I Believe (I should say to get me into your university)" drives me crazy! 

Just do as you are told and you will get through the next gate... take your golden ticket and follow the yellow line to the dollar signs... keep your head down- ignore the Global Warming signs, avoid the extremists and the outbreaks, eat as much poison as you can, and DO NOT FEEL empathy - it is the sure death of any "winner". Good luck competitors.

Ask any educator at the top of their profession and they will mostly agree... none of this makes sense anymore. But what can we do in a system that is the "game of school"? It has little to do with wonder, discovery, determination, joy, independence, play, exploration, and the freedom to be a naturally developing human being. If we move this way - we will have better "career ready" skills, higher test scores, better SATs, and more impressive university essays - if that is the measure. 

Moving away from a content driven subject defined curriculum towards a conceptually based, character driven ecosystem just might change the nature of schooling.

The Common Ground Collaborative hopes to be that change. I hope they are right and I want a ticket!
  • Competency Learning
  • Conceptual Learning
  • Character Learning

Personal Meaning
Learners understand how both personal and social identities are 
constructed. They understand the role that beliefs and values 
have played in shaping human societies, can articulate their own 
beliefs and values and understand where these came from. 
These understandings support them both in developing a sense 
of personal purpose and in respecting the beliefs and values of 

Creative Expression
Learners understand that, while we may not all agree on what is 
beautiful, we all respond to beauty. They understand that 
humans have always expressed their interpretations of the world 
through a rich range of creative media. They understand the 
ways in which the arts can influence societal development by 
challenging commonly held perspectives with creative ideas. 
They recognize that we all have a capacity for creativity. These 
understandings equip them both to develop their own creative 
potential and to appreciate the creative products of other 
individuals and cultures.

Physical Wellbeing
Learners understand the value of physical well-being, of 
remaining fit and healthy throughout life. They understand the 
contribution of a balanced lifestyle, healthy diet and physical 
activity to their overall well-being. They also understand and value 
the range of learning embedded in individual and team sports. 
These understandings help them leave school “fit for life”.

Systems for Problem-Solving & Predicting
Learners understand that by recognizing and describing patterns 
in the world around us, we can both come to understand the 
world better and harness that understanding to predict and 
manage our environment. They are familiar with a broad range of 
systematic ways for describing and modeling the world. These 
understandings equip students to translate their natural wonder 
about how the world works into inquiries that build knowledge 
and understanding.

Sustainable Production and Consumption
Learners understand the central significance of production and 
consumption in shaping human society and the impact of these 
human activities on local and global environments. They 
understand economic systems and how these are interdependent 
with both social systems and the natural world. These 
understandings equip learners to be innovative producers, 
informed consumers and responsible conservers.

Communications Systems
Learners understand how communication systems have shaped 
human interactions. They understand how advances in 
communication, particularly technological ones, have changed 
the way human beings interact, simultaneously enabling certain 
possibilities while sometimes diminishing others. These 
understandings equip learners to be skilled, ethical users and 
consumers of a range of communications media.

Connections to Our Environments
Learners understand how the natural world works. They 
understand the concept of interdependence between and within 
ecosystems. They also understand the ways in which humans 
have manipulated environments and the connection between the 
way a space is constructed and the effects that is likely to have 
on those who live in or use the space. These understandings 
support students in developing a strong sense of their place 
within both the natural and built environment and in coming to 
value the critical importance of nature to human well-being.

Group Membership
Learners understand the human need to be part of a group. They 
understand the forces and influences that shape groups, their 
cultures and their power structures. They are able to put these 
understandings into historical and geographical contexts to 
understand how and why groups are different and the factors 
which are likely to cause conflict within and between groups. 
These understandings equip learners to work towards a world 
with a greater level of social justice and equity

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