Thursday, July 16, 2015

Not school as usual...

So I made it through chapter 2. Yay! Summer has been a bit beastly for sitting and reading this year.

I wish I could just share the notes in the margin of the book, and I guess I could take pictures, but I might run into copyright issues.

The first big star I have is next to where the distinction between expectations as directives and expectations as beliefs was explained. This is the heart of why we can't make the change to a culture of thinking. Directives are how we keep our world functioning in an orderly way. Directives have students doing what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it. Directives at MDE have given us good results. In response to hardies's post I wrote in the margin, "If our expectation "for" students is for test passing, then our expectations of students will match. Again, it will show immediately when entering a class." You can tell the difference between directives and beliefs as expectations in the classroom.

The next big thing was on pages 42-43, "the creation of a real-world action theory demands that we acknowledge and try to reconcile for ourselves the pushes and pulls that exist in a given context." I wrote that this is an issue. So few people will take the time to do this, they will wait until they are forced. Will it still count? There is an earlier post about this and I said yes, I thought it would still count, but now I'm not so sure. If creating a culture of thinking becomes "just another initiative" I doubt that it will gain traction.

My next big margin scribble was on page 48 where he was talking about school as usual. Giving up school as usual is a huge undertaking, and it takes a lot of buy in from so many people. That's what Model Schools was all about though--showcasing the schools that weren't just school as usual. I enjoyed hearing about the amazing things that are happening, and I think we can do them here. There is just a huge commitment involved that some folks aren't going to want to make. I would call those people ex-employees, but I don't have that kind of power!

My final note for today is one of having a fixed mindset. I don't have many memories, it is a weird quirk of mine that I don't remember anything. I know that in high school I was intensely motivated to get the grade, and I did well. My form of perfectionism is to keep trying until I get it right, which isn't exactly the same as a growth mindset, but also didn't allow me to give up. I do remember once in government we were playing a quiz game show. I was adamant that I had the right answer, even though everyone else in my group disagreed. I fought, and fought, and got really mad, and they went with my answer. It was wrong! I burst into tears and ran out of the room because I was so embarrassed. I hid in the bathroom for the rest of the period. I was so fixated on being right and on winning that I couldn't listen to anyone else. That's how I feel education is today. Everyone wants to be right and win the test scores game, so no one wants to collaborate and risk being wrong. We might all end up crying in the bathroom, but at least we didn't give up on our beliefs! Growth is about allowing other ideas in, and processing them, and then deciding if they are right, wrong or somewhere in between. I think that's what this chapter is telling us. It isn't that we have bad expectations. It is that we have rigid expectations and that we need to be willing to look at another side.

We have a joke around Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo time, "it's all about the kids!" It is in response to the constant barrage of fundraising efforts to raise money for scholarships, but it fits here too. If we keep our future in mind, which is the children we teach and who will be running our country and taking care of us, then we should be willing to change whatever expectations we need to in order to make that future bright.

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