If you believe in differentiation in the classroom, then you should also support differentiation amongst schools. Unfortunately few International Schools are rising to this challenge. Instead of differentiating themselves many are just doing more of what other schools are doing well. Perhaps they may add a design center here or an amazing sports complex there, but on the whole they aren’t innovating much with their pedagogical or curricular practices. Is your school innovating and preparing students for tomorrow’s challenges? In order to prepare for tomorrow we need to challenge and question the way we do things today.
This New York Times Opinion, Schools That Work, written by David Leonhardt, shows that the Charter School movement in the US has moved us forward in how to educate today’s children. Although many Charter schools have failed to live up to their purpose, the movement has created a space for a few schools, in particular “high expectations, high support” schools, to flourish and show the rest of us a way forward.
When we take a closer look at these schools, and in particular their teachers and administrative staff, we will find these are people with shared beliefs and have a common sense of purpose. They are driven by a need for change and have adopted practices that force them out of their comfort zones. The following quote from a teacher speaks volumes about what it truly means to have “High expectations, high support”:
“My mother has been teaching forever. My father has been teaching for 10 years,” …. “They don’t get observed. I get observed every week and have a meeting about it every week.”