Reinventing High School Takes Grass Roots Grit
Patrick Belmonte
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Your argument to change the structures and barriers to engaging, authentic learning in secondary schools is compelling. Yes, specialization, timetabling, “curriculum coverage” all impede our ability to respond with agility to students’ strengths, interests and needs. I agree that collaboration in co-planning and co-teaching would go a long way to address the issues and you offer many practical strategies to make this kind of work possible. I would argue though that elementary schools are not really much further ahead in this regard. I have seen PBL, Inquiry, Maker-Spaces, multi-disciplinary work etc. happening in both elementary and secondary panels; however, many are surface applications and do not really evolve into deep learning experiences. Teachers need more time to plan together on these types of projects and while I support your position that we need to be flexible with how we address curriculum expectations, I would argue that we really must develop a shared understanding of the learning destination for students. Yes, they will learn things which may not have been intended, but teachers must plan with a framework for the intended learning. A suggestion I would offer is more work in using the achievement chart as tool for planning, instruction, assessment in a multi-disciplinary context. Thanks for sharing; I hope this stimulates some great conversation.