Goal: Where There’s a Will…

Classroom Concepts

Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 23

Many ideas exist for how the education system can be improved. In #Edchat, educators have offered real solutions. However, many teachers wonder how these solutions can really take place when educational policy does not support them. I am an idealist. Often, I take the Don Quixote approach and “see life as it should be.” Eventually people have to go from having ideas to actualizing these ideas. This is my long-term goal. One way to do this is to stop seeing the obstacles and “what ifs” that could get in my way. Instead, I implore us as an educational community to find successful examples of what we have envisioned. We can learn from these examples and begin to take the steps towards these goals.

The Will

I refuse to believe I have to accept the system we have lived in for decades. I worked with at risk students and in low-income districts. I grew up in schools that were left behind. I was part of the generation in my family who was the first to graduate from college. I have seen too many of my friends and family members be part of the end of that gap that did not achieve. I have seen their children also become part of that cycle.

The Way

Therefore, in February I plan on posting interviews with educators who have accomplished amazing feats in schools. My goal is to conduct more interviews with educators who work in successful educational systems that do not try to standardize students. In asking them how they are successful, perhaps we can find ways to make these ideas work in our schools.

The Connection

With these thoughts brewing, I was excited to run into Katie Lambrino, @klambrino, on Twitter today. She will be one of the people I interview. These are bits of our conversation:

ShellTerrell: RT @bwillhoit: Great Post by @AndrewBWatt- Digital Textbooks? No. http://bit.ly/902vKg – No need for textbooks in project-based learning
Klambrino: @ShellTerrell Great post. Our school does not have any textbooks. It’s all hands-on learning and I love it!
Klambrino: @ShellTerrell no textbooks, no report cards (portfolios instead) and 30 min P/T conferences each quarter, guest speakers and field trips!
ShellTerrell: @klambrino That’s amazing! Do you have to worry about standardized testing at all?
Klambrino: @ShellTerrell yep, we have to follow the testing guidelines just like any other school. 100% of kids are either advanced or proficient

Rather than focusing on why it can’t be accomplished, shouldn’t we be seeking ways it can be accomplished?

Challenge:

How do you wish to change the education system? Who from your Personal Learning Network (PLN) can help you achieve these goals?

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This is goal 23 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post with more details!

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How do you think we can begin to close the wide achievement gap?


Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

11 comments

  1. Love this idea and looking forward to Feb. to read about the successes. Best wishes for great discussion and much inspiration.

  2. Hi Shelly,

    An other amazing, thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing. I hope the next generation of educators will be luckier than us. They will be trained with the idea that they are team members, collaboration is a must, creativity is a challenge. The PLN helps all of us in that way. I imagine more people having their PLNs where they can get support.
    Yes, and for when there is a will part, my 8 year old daughter was trying to convince her twin brother for something this morning saying that everything has a solution.
    There are many ways for us to reach our solutions.
    I’m sure we’ll learn many things from your interviews too.
    Keep challenging us.
    Then we will try to challenge others.

    Eva Büyüksimkeşyan

    • Eva,

      Your daughter is so smart! Sounds like she will be accomplishing great things with that attitude! I think you are right that the next generation of educators will have PLNs to collaborate with. Social media is so exciting!

    • Michael,

      Thank you for the incredible support your organization already provides educators. Chances for educators to participate in communities and collaborate are the support and steps that are needed. Your organization supports this!

  3. Shelly, We MUST collaborate. This is exactly the “cry in the wilderness” that I have been plagued by in So Cal, for years. Your “One way to do this is to stop seeing the obstacles” and “implore us as an educational community to…” are exactly what I’ve been coaching my teachers to do for years. As a principal for 14 years,the obstacles were always looming, with little support for thinking outside the box, and moving forward. I was the school cheerleader, constantly searching research for ways to work outside the system. Sadly, many of my teachers, beat down by the system,could not look beyond their four walls. Now as I’m building my website, as well as job hunting (have a template,still being custom designed) my goal is to motivate teachers and equip them through pictorial presentation, photographing them teaching outstanding lessons, post to the blog, highlighting terrific teachers, and what they do to inspire, regardless of the naysayers. I have some amazing teachers I could send your way from So Cal and Colorado.
    Let’s see if we can connect! So excited to see this…hope it creates much fervor! xo

    • Teachingwithsoul,

      I am so excited to see administrators and leaders involved with social media. I think that a principal who is forward minded has such a great impact on the teachers. Principals have the ability to encourage their teachers to follow this type of vision. Thank you for being one of those leaders.

  4. I can’t wait to see the rest of the interviews and ideas! I am with you, I am an eternal optimist. I refuse to believe that there is nothing that we can do to change the educational system for the better. Our students deserve the best learning today. They rely on us to make that happen. It is so encouraging to know that there are other educators working toward this same goal!

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