I spent some time yesterday at our school professional development day talking with part of my staff about possible changes we could make to our timetable to accommodate more projects, more cross-curricular connections and more blocks of uninterrupted time with our students. I am very lucky to have an innovative staff that always works hard to do what is right for kids and are patient with my passions about education.
Returning to the classroom this year has been an eye opener for me in a lot of ways. Not only am I now walking my talk and have a much better idea of what my teachers are balancing on a daily basis, I have realized that the timetable, which I created by the way, is not providing our students with the best opportunities to learn or giving our teachers the best opportunity to plan for that learning.
I have a vision about how I believe education needs to be. It is not my vision alone, but more of a realization that what we have done for generations in schools is not and does not work any more. I have had a little glimpse of what happens when you open learning up to students and allow them to follow their passions through Genius Hour. I know that every moment in school cannot be spent doing open projects, but at the same time, the engagement and empowerment I see in my students during that time, is amazing. It is not all perfect and we are still getting started, but I sure like what I see and I love what it allows me to do as a teacher which is step back and guide.
I was watching a video of Marc Prensky speaking at the ECIS Tech Conference in March in which he describes a vision he has for education that is similar to mine. Then just this morning @marcprensky posted the following tweet:
I am a fan and I am a believer, however I am still frustrated about how to make this vision become a reality in my school. How can I rearrange our cluttered and confining timetable to allow for more passion driven learning? How can I provide time and support to my teachers so they are able to facilitate learning in their classrooms that is student driven, less teacher fed and focused?
If you have any creative suggestions about how you organize time in your school, please let me know.