July 19, 2011
I'd like to see a world where our 19th Century school system is completely replaced with a innovative, inclusive education system that reflects the reality of how kids live and learn now. This system would not label kids with learning disabilities or behavioural problems, but instead find smaller, more inclusive and innovative ways to work with those children so the bar isn't set to 'just make sure they pass' or 'making sure least number of kids fail'. Schools would see their role as making kids passionate about learning, about turning kids into empathetic, concerned citizens of the world, not sausage factories for 'learning or earning', i.e. uni, tafe, training or a job.
I'm exploring Big Picture learning and other resources from around the world that are cutting edge education. I would like to start a school for twice exceptional kids - children who are gifted in whatever way but are being held back by a learning disability or developmental delay. I'm also switching to a NGO so I can learn about running one from the inside.
I would like to collaborate with Dennis Littky, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Big Picture Learning. He created an entirely new way to work with kids who are disenfranchised from mainstream education. I'd also like to work with The Lang School founder, Micaela Bracmonte. She named it after Cyril Lang, her 10th grade English teacher. He stood up to the Dept of Education to teach a curriculum they considered too difficult for his “average” students. He taught challenging material in unconventional ways, engaging his students in Socratic debates about Machiavelli’s The Prince & Plato’s Republic, texts limited to 12th grade advanced placement classes. Although the school threatened to fire him if he didn’t comply, he persisted. “I made a premeditated, intellectual decision to continue teaching the way I had,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with the genetic makeup of these students. It’s the educational system that’s declining. We are bearing witness to the triumph of mediocrity.”
Single mum to a daughter with ADHD. Formerly a public servant in social policy and social inclusion policy, but now switching for awhile to the not-for-profit sector to work at the coal face on a innovative employment project in Melbourne.
It is a motivated and organised group that has kept its momentum going over time.