Monday, August 3, 2009

New and Improved?

I read an article in Education Week entitled "Solutions are the Problem in Education". It reminds me of another article - "Innovation, Motherhood and Apple Pie" which discusses a similar issue. Is it better just because it's new? Do we need to allow time for change to develop before we replace it with yet another new program?
In the past few years Jewish education has changed in big, important ways. We are looking at the ideas of general education reform and attempting to apply them to the context of religious educational programs. Some of the reforms have energized our programs, some have not. Some have had valuable effects on learning, others may not have.
And some innovations need time to take hold in practice - they require time, sustained effort, and ongoing support if they are going to improve the outcomes we are seeking.

To use the framework of backward design, here is a suggested outline to help you start thinking about improving learning in our classes/schools/informal settings:

Big Idea:
We need to structure the learning in our educational settings to maximize the outcomes that we believe are important

Essential Questions:
What are the really important learning outcomes?
Are we choosing activities that support these outcomes?
How do we know?

Here is a link to the Ed Week article.
Here is a link to Innovation, Motherhood and Apple Pie.

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