Today I read an encouraging story in the New York Times that discussed an educational turn around at a large school. Conventional wisdom for educational reform is that communities develop when students can be known individually and offered pathways that affirm their strengths, calling out the best in them. In public schools, this motto generally supports the idea that small schools are better. This school saw the task differently and has made great strides with over 4000 students.
What intrigues me about the article is that a student’s ability to read, write, speak and reason are regarded as every teacher’s responsibility. In particular, I am encouraged by promoting student reasoning. It can be a pain, for teacher and student alike, to learn how a student is reasoning. Writing does help the issue as it forces students to make even a small aspect of their thoughts transparent. Additionally, I cannot think of skills more important across disciplines than reasoning. The various academic fields offer different modes of reasoning.
I also appreciate how educators lent helping hands to one another. So often, being an educator means swimming against the current even when you don’t know what you’re doing. These educators worked together alongside of a common mission that spanned all of their fields. They helped each other recognize good writing and developed community amongst themselves… even within the span of the contract.
What do you think are critical aspects of schooling success?