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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Linda Darling Hammond Webinar

Linda Darling Hammond Webinar

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Hi all- I hope you had a chance to listen in to one of Linda Darling-Hammond's webinars with Edutopia today. The U.S. is ranked 35th in Math and 29th in Science on PISA assessments. I think our biggest problem is that as a society, we equate a good education to knowing a lot of "stuff." Many people have a perception that their education (10,20,30 or more years ago) was good, so we should go "back to the basics." In my opinion, the most eye-opening slide was the graphic that showed a decrease in jobs requiring routine skills (even those that required thinking) and a dramatic increase in jobs requiring thinking in non-routine ways ---> continual learning, problem solving, and application. We won't have any significant improvements in our educational system until we realize that the way we have educated our students for the past 50+ years may have been great for an industrial age, but is not appropriate today. While the rest of the world has been embracing inquiry, problem solving, and application, we have been focusing on testing facts and factual recall. I think the most damning slides provided a comparison of our "best" science test - NAEP and its simplistic questions - to a rich context assessment from Australia. It was simply stunning to see the differences in how we ask our kids to think vs. how the "top performing" countries ask their kids to think. What were your take-aways from the presentation? What can (or are) you doing in your classroom to change the way our students think in school?

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nikki honey's picture
nikki honey
Parent of 2 middle school students in area of Seattle, WA

Just listened to the wonderful webinar by Dr. Darling-Hammond, and also forwarded it to our school principal...
The key points that I remember from this international comparison are:
- U.S. tends to teach and test for recall and recognition
- Other countries focus more on inquiry and explanation - demonstrating learning applied in a real life context
- Checking out the almost comical example of a U.S. test question about atmospheric gases and hamburgers: how do these questions test any of the 21st century skills listed? (Answer: they do not)
- One of the main goals should be: "Teach the students so that they learn to use their minds well" -Ted Sizer
This was a great webinar and also introduced me to the edutopia.org and the groups.
Another author that writes engagingly about 21st century skills is Dan Pink in "Whole New Mind" - also good reading :-)

nikki honey's picture
nikki honey
Parent of 2 middle school students in area of Seattle, WA

I wasn't able to access the review through the posted link. Could you post the link again?

brian goodwin's picture
brian goodwin
Director of Grants and Special Programs for North Wasco County Schools

How do educators and concerned citizens reshape public education to be more relevant and engaging for students? I read an excerpt of Linda Darling-Hammond's latest work on EdWeek online, and believe that the way to the "heart" of education is through it's "stomach" - if the current test in math is what drives instruction (memorizing algorithms in order to answer questions unrelated to anything based in reality), and schools and districts are very concerned about passing the tests (Rhode Island!), then the key to change is to make the test more relevant to the real world, life and work (so that when we "teach to the test", we will be teaching to the rest of students' lives). I know that in Oregon it is allowable to devise an alternate assessment, so long as the state dept. of education approves it. I would imagine that many states allow for this. I am hopeful that there will be pioneers who will make a new assessment, and share their work with others...

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