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Chelsea Alley

Core-Integrated Creative Dance Specialist K-6, Provo School District

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Revolution in Education. Let's talk specifics... What can we really do?

As an integrated-arts teacher in the public education system, I love how inspiring and galvanizing these talks can be. Yes, we all realize America's education system isn't quite doing what we want it to do. And speakers like the magnificent Sir Ken Robinson have a wonderful way of illuminating ideas and increasing the desire to make the changes we so desperately need. But these talks tend to sweep grandly over the general nature of the thing. I listen to them and I'm like, "Yeah! PREACH. It's all true! .... Aaaaand ....now what?"

So, let's talk details. As educators, as students, as parents, as citizens... what ideas are out there for actually implementing the revolution that Sir Ken and others like him are calling for? I mean, really. What can we actually do?

I don't want to believe that nothing can be done, but it's difficult for me to imagine what can be done. It's such a large system, so steeped in tradition, continuously shifting towards more and more national standardization, and I'm left feeling a little overwhelmed. What is within our power? What are some good, viable ideas, models, and propositions for actually applying this "revolution" in the daily education experience?

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley
http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution

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    Jun 7 2014: Thanks for the great comments and questions. I have been a high school teacher for 16 years and have I taught grade 10 to grade 12 students in Ontario, Canada. I can remember when I started teaching a long time ago, and I felt that within each class, I was the main focus of almost everything. Today, I think education has taken some major strides in making a student-focused approach where we focus on the students' background, passion and maybe where they "want-to-go" (ie. career, etc...) within our curriculum and lessons. Ultimately, the greatest changes will be seen when students feel empowered in their own learning. School Boards, teachers, parents, local communities (including local businesses, Churches, and other community partners) must play a role in providing resources and support to offer students unique learning environments that allows each student an opportunity for success. One of the best ideas to come out in the Ontario education system is the Specialist High Skills Majors Program (SHSM) which includes a more specialized high school experience rich with experiential learning and reach ahead opportunities. Students also have to complete a 240 hour co-op placement in the community to get some hands-on experience in one of the student's career paths. Ultimately, what works best for our students will work best for our society.

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