Thursday, March 11, 2010

Schlechty Learning

I attended a great conference in Tampa Florida this week. It was a WOW conference which is a program based on principles laid out by Phil Schlechty, an innovative specialist in education. I found the WOW conference to be very thought provoking. The focus in education is enhancing student engagement to increase student learning in an effort to improve student outcomes. Education is designed to create well informed productive 21st century citizens capable of being productive members of a 21st century workforce. In order to do so I truly believe that we are going to have to rethink some of the ways we as educators are facilitating education. If we keep doing the same things that we have always done we are going to get the same results we have always gotten, and the problem with this is that times have changed. Times have changed, the workforce has changed, and simply put society as a whole has changed. The question then becomes why would we want to get the same results from our students that we were getting 10 years ago. We have to modify education so that we can produce citizens capable of meeting the demands of today's society.

The bigger question, and the focus of this conference, is how do we modify education so that it embraces and engages today's learners so that they can meet the needs of today's ever changing world. One point brought out during this conference was do we want an educational environment that is bureaucratic in nature or do we want to create learning organizations? My hope is that we want to create learning organizations. Most people would ask the question.....what is the difference? The difference is that a bureacuracy is designed to efficiently administer rules, regulations, and policy.It is a very rigid environment and not conducive to growth and creativity. It creates walls and boundaries that prevent both teachers and students from realizing the joy of learning that education can offer.

To become a learning organization these walls must come down. We have to offer educators and students the freedom to grow and develop the learning environment so that it becomes one in which today's generation can flourish. Focusing on the proper organization of Schlechty's six critical systems is a great way to start doing so.

It was a great conference. As always it is good to meet new people. Randy and Keisha it was great working with you!