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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Teachers - All Teachers; Students - All Students

Recently I was on a listserv where a discussion on different philosophies and teachers and school models ensued. We seem to have replaced some of the Mac Vs. PC "wars" that used to occur (partly because of  most apps moving so clearly and fully to the cloud) to the private (independent school) vs. charter schools vs. public school arguments.

My take on it - we should be student-centered. That's what I believe. When you are in a student centered environment it is clear from the beginning when you walk in that students are valued, are part of decisions, are included in thinking/planning/ideas, are respected and important. It's not just lip service - it's the real thing. If a school or district makes students integral to the community in multiple ways, students know and value this and I believe will achieve more.

My take on professional development is that it should be teacher-centered. Teachers should participate, chose, frame, give meaningful feedback on, and be heard about what they want to learn, how, when and with whom.

I have personally seen and experienced student-centered spaces in private, public and charter schools. I have also personally seen and experienced highly adult-centered spaces as well. I have also seen and experienced teacher-centered PD in all three spaces; along with PD clearly not involving teachers in meaningful hands-on, community-building and enhancing ways.

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