• Twitter
  • Medium
  • Google+
  • Podcast
  • Youtube

1/31/13

When Teachers Aren't Invited

During my prep period today, I ran across a discussion between a few people on Twitter. It revolved around a Harvard Gazette article where five experts engaged in a discussion regarding how to  "jump-start effective learning."

I read the experts and found myself nodding with a few of their ideas. However, I was bothered that the discussion regarding the future of education failed to include a single K-12 public school teacher. Somehow we are not a part of the conversation.

Again.

Imagine a conversation about the future of health care that never included a single doctor. Think about a dialogue on the future of art without a single artist. Maybe a discussion on the future of business with only economics professors and not a single person from a corporation. I wouldn't expect to see a visionary conversation about the future of architecture without including any real architects.

Jason Glass pointed out that the panel wasn't meant as a slight to teachers. It was simply a group of experts affiliated with Harvard. I don't believe it was an intentional slight. It rarely is. Instead, it's an oversight, a quiet silence of the teacher's perspective. The experts are out there, above us, dreaming up reform. We are simply the practitioners.

The problem is this: those who create policies are much more likely to listen to a Harvard panel packed with experts than they are to listen to the teachers who often have great ideas on re-imagining schools. When our perspectives aren't included in the various panel discussions, policy makers miss out on a necessary reform perspective.
JOHN SPENCER
Professor. Author. Speaker. Maker.
I want to see kids embrace creativity. As a teacher, this meant murals, documentaries, STEM camps, and coding projects. As a dad, this has meant elaborate pillow forts and home-made pinball machines. This is why I co-wrote Wendell the World's Worst Wizard and co-founded Write About. I am convinced that design thinking can thrive in every content area, which is why I am launching the free design thinking course this summer.

Contact

Send me your questions, ideas, or speaking inquiries.