Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Living your Dream
By Barbara Bray    July 22, 2009 -- 09:21 AM

When you have a passion for something, it makes each morning exciting and new. You cannot wait to see what happens next. Doing something you love makes your life have purpose. With the economy in such a mess, especially for our schools and even worse in California, how do many of our educators like me and many of you reading this post, continue doing what you love?

We became teachers to make a difference - for the kids - not for the money. But now, itís starting to hurt. States are in the red and taking money from counties; counties are taking money from cities; cities are grabbing what they can from school districts. I donít want to write about whatís right or wrong or provide solutions about where to get the money or taxes or what is ethical. What I want to write about is how you continue doing something you really believe in when you donít have the money to pay your bills.

During the depression, the companies that made it were the ones that were innovative and took risks to try something new. They scraped together whatever money they could get from friends and family and sacrificed everything they owned to take that risk. Some made it big - some unfortunately didnít. But at least they tried.

This is where schools that are going to make it need to think creatively and be innovative. If districts need to cut back, where will that be next. Textbooks? [interview about Texas textbooks] Open and Free Courseware? [MIT Opencourseware] Virtual Schools [Florida Virtual School]

I believe in entrepreneurship for teachers and learners of all ages. A new DNA for the teacher, new DNA for i
nnovative Superintendents trying the Community Learning Center model. Schools will change because they have to now to stay around. How about if they:
  • Design a flexible schedule for the brick and mortar school where the entire community gets involved.
  • Encourage innovative teachers to write proposals for projects that meet the standards. 
  • Review the standards and let learners challenge what they already know.
  • Invite teachers and students to write curriculum, courses, or professional development that they can offer to others in the community and online.
  • Create an incentive program where anyone can promote their expertise.
  • Reward risk-takers!!!
What if everyone had a way to create a community around their interest? Think about how people learn. If you enjoy films and great directors, I bet you would like to watch those films and create a community of like-minded individuals that can talk about those films and the director.

Now letís say that you would like to create a course "Teaching with Movies." You can do that with this model where you wrote a proposal with audience, duration, cost, delivery, etc. What if the author of this course is a high school student who is very knowledgable of films and they partnered with a teacher who helped them with instructional design?

I see some really innovative strategies happening out of this economic crisis. Think about these ideas and share your comments. Iím curious what you think of anyone being a teacher or learner.

Categories: "Dream" "Innovation" "Creativity" "Expertise" "Challenge" "Community Learning Centers" "Learning" "Teaching"

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Comments: Add New Comments
By small Russ Knopp      July 23, 2009 -- 07:18 AM
Thinking outside the box?  I support that!  Well-written, timely blog.  Now it is time for us all to get to work!

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By Bill McGRATH, Ph.D.      July 23, 2009 -- 03:03 PM
Thanks Barbara
I am reading "Excuses Begone" by Dr Dyer and he mentions SWITCHING your DNA - cool video
Responsibilities are on all for this change

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By small Steven Sanchez      August 10, 2009 -- 04:01 PM

We are about to take a baby step in thi s direction with our GATE students in fifth and sixth grade this year.  Two of our teachers our teachers have been trained through the San Diego County Office of Education in the development of instructional videos.  The idea that students learn from one another and solidify their understanding through teaching is powerful.  We will begin trying this out by connecting Science and movie making to enhance student learning.

Steven Sanchez

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