My 3 Education Hopes for 2015

1. Instead of policy makers only considering teacher:student ratio, I hope they consider student:class room square footage ratio.

Image via  @BroadbandIowa

Image via @BroadbandIowa

I saw the picture above on Twitter with the statement that suggested classrooms should look like Barnes and Noble. That sounds pretty, but “in the real-world” how would this work in a typical classroom?

My first thought when I saw this image was Where are the other 17 students? That is a lot of space for 11 children. It’s an optimal space for teaching and learning, but it isn’t reality yet. I hope it soon will be.

2. I hope we rethink how we use classroom assessments*.

I hope:

A. we focus more on using formative assessments to guide instruction rather than giving tons of redundant diagnostic and summative assessments generating a bunch data that we have no clue how to use.

B. use summative and diagnostic assessments more appropriately.

C. all stakeholders having meaningful discussions about what effective assessments (e.g. formative, summative, authentic, informal, diagnostic, etc.) are, the purpose of the different types of assessments, and what they look like.

3. I hope we begin to truly value and support other content areas like science and the humanities as well as the arts again- especially in the primary grades.

I hope this support will include materials & supplies, time and space for all content areas to be taught, and supporting professional growth opportunities for all educators (including administrators) to increase content knowledge and refine pedagogy.

sotrue

The basic needs of students, teachers, and administrators must be met first. That’s education 101.


 

I have so much more that I hope for in my profession in 2015, but I think this would be a great start. What are your hopes for 2015.

 

*Note, I typed class assessments and not standardized tests.

I’m not a “We don’t need no assessments” type educator. We assessments to measure what students do and do not know as well as identify learning misconceptions. Formative assessments are awesome in refining lesson plans to suit your specific learners. Best way to work smart and maximize instructional time.

10 thoughts on “My 3 Education Hopes for 2015

  1. Did you watch the 60 minutes with that Kahn (not star trek) lol) worked with Bill Gates for the teaching curriculum? They made the statement that the kids do the work at home (the teachers instruction and lesson plan) and do homework at school. While the kids are working on their homework — at school, the teacher can watch her tablet and see where the student is struggling (in real time) and she can walk over and help that student one on one. Or if two students are struggling she can tap them and bring them together and have additional instruction time. The “Pitch” was that it frees up class room time and every student gets one on one or one on three. Anyway it sounded marvelous, but I know reality can be a bit different.

    Anyway. I love your work, and I nominated you for a blogging award. If you will accept it. I will understand if you won’t. https://heatherpublishing.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/pack-your-bags-virtual-blog-tour-award/

    • I really appreciate being nominated. Especially coming from a blogger I like and respect. But I no longer participate in blog awards. Thank you so much for thinking of me.

      I’m wondering if the Minutes piece you are talking about refers to the Kahn Academy. I love the Kahn Academy (good for adults too). But a surprising number of kids do not have access to internet at home. A surprisingly larger number especially in rural and/or poor areas.

      • I wondered about the award, but thanks for being gracious. 🙂

        Yeah, Kahn Academy is the one I was talking about. I keep thinking I’m going to do some of the work on that website and I never allow myself the time.

  2. My freshman honors English class had 36 kids and 33 desks. Two kids had to sit on stools (not exactly conducive to writing) and one on the windowsill. Mostly we prayed for people to be absent to first period. The room was absolutely packed, and that made side conversations easy and distracting. Competing for space should NEVER be a thing in a classroom.

    • That sounds awful. Things like that infuriate me because teachers are still expected to have their students perform in classrooms that are 2 sizes too small for the number of students. It also makes me mad when the response from some administrators (usually former classroom teachers) have the attitude of “Well, this is where we are. So what it takes.” with a shoulder shrug. What it takes is for students, parents, and educators demanding better.

      • ^ Exactly.
        The good news is that more people got to be in Honors English instead of shutting people out. The bad news is that it makes managing the classroom difficult. My district is pretty wealthy, too, so I can’t even imagine classrooms in lower socioeconomic areas.

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