TEDxPhilly – Chris Lehmann – Education is Broken

This was an extremely inspirational video to watch.  In the beginning, Lehmann discussed how nowadays we give our students not only post assessments but pre assessments as well.  We use the pre assessments to find out what the students are worst at and then give them more of that, sending the message that, “teaching to joy/passion/interests does not matter, it’s about making sure that you don’t suck so much at what you’re bad at.”  How powerful is that statement? And it’s true! We are so concerned with finding out what our students don’t know, but only so we can cram it down their throats in the attempts that they will meet the criteria and pass the test.  It shouldn’t be about tests, it should be about learning.

Why are we teaching this? Because someone told me that I had to teach this.

This is not acceptable.  As Lehmann suggested, school should teach us how to live, how to learn, open our minds to ideas and critical thinking, and help us become better than who we are today.  I loved how the Philly school dealt with benchmark projects instead of benchmark tests.  What a fabulous idea! This allows students to learn about themselves while at the same time creating something that is real and that has meaning instead of a passing grade on a pointless piece of paper.  Teachers should not give out mindless rubrics with specifications for font and type size, teachers should say, “teach me.”  Push kids out of their comfort zone, have them ask questions that no one, not even the teacher, has the answer to.  Encourage the students to be creative and then give them the opportunity to share their accomplishments.

I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again, kids still need structure and guidance.  But you can provide them with the trunk of the tree and have them branch out on their own.  Some kids will need extra help, some kids will be successful completely on their own without any extra help.  But they all need the opportunity to do so, they all need a teacher who believes in them, they all need to realize that what they do in school is important, not in the future, but in the here and now.

Education is broken…but it can be fixed.


2 thoughts on “TEDxPhilly – Chris Lehmann – Education is Broken

  1. I love this…”But you can provide them with the trunk of the tree and have them branch out their own.” Educators need to push kids out of their comfort zones while they are in a safe environment…that makes the failures learning experiences and the successes that much sweeter:) great post…thank you.

  2. I like the idea of using projects as benchmarks instead of tests. I hate tests! I feel like most educators hate them and wish they had more time to actually TEACH. Like is stated in the video, teach students to be better overal, not just at a particular subject or topic. Using project based benchmarks also adheres to the idea of UDL. Differentiation…isn’t that what it’s all about?

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