Do Better Things … Not the Same Things Better

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

1 LU

Since the beginning of time, education has been identified as one of the keys to the success and stability of a society. But, why do we do it, really? How do we do it effectively? How do we measure its effectiveness? Responses to these and other questions have been the subject of debate for just as long. In the nearly 250 year history of education in the United States, those debates have resulted in a few leaps forward, but those leaps have largely centered on who has access to education and how we measure student progress. We still largely group students by age. We still organize and measure learning by siloed disciplines. And, we still largely deliver education as if all students are the same and empty buckets to be filled. Most attempts as improving education in this country have revolved around how to do these things better. This proposal challenges many of those assumptions and explores the next stage of development for American (and global) education… to do better things. Specifically, this session will explore an educational model that challenges some of the fundamental questions about education:

  • What is the purpose of education? To ensure students find their passion.
  • What will form the basis of curriculum? Highly siloed disciplines covering minute detail whether of interest or not, whether relevant or not, will be replaced with an overarching curriculum of big questions. How can I express myself and effectively communicate with others? How do I analyze information? How can I create? How do I treat others? How do I explore the world around me? Skills and knowledge will be defined by and covered via student interests.
  • How will be the dominate pedagogy? Open-ended, experiential, physical, and tactile strategies will be the dominate pedagogies. Students will have opportunities to make choices about which pedagogy works best for them.
  • How should students be assessed? Standardized testing will be greatly diminished. Students will be continually assessed for progress toward competency via professional educator and androids equipped with advanced artificial intelligence.
  • What training will professional educators need to thrive in this educational model? The importance of discipline-specific expertise will still be important, but diminished in favor of clear expression of a passion for something and for expertise in child development and child psychology.

The responses to these and other questions are informed largely by a few key resources: Report of the Committee on Secondary School Studies: Appointed at the Meeting of the National Educational Association, July 9, 1892: with the Reports of the Conferences Arranged by This Committee and Held December 28-30, 1892. Government Printing Office, 1893. Robinson, Ken, and Lou Aronica. Creative Schools: Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up. Penguin Books, 2016. Dintersmith, Ted. What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America. Princeton University Press, 2018. Ravitch, Diane. Slaying Goliath: the Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America's Public Schools. Vintage Books, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2020. Robinson, Ken, and Lou Aronica. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. Penguin, 2010. PETRILLI, MICHAEL J. HOW TO EDUCATE AN AMERICAN: the Conservative Vision for Tomorrow's Schools. TEMPLETON PRESS, 2021. Rose, Todd. The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness. Penguin Books, 2017.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Think deeply and differently about the connection between learning and community.
  2. Reimagine planning concepts underlying public school facilities in the future.
  3. Explore what community assets strengthen the learning experiences of all ages.
  4. Create new organizational paradigms for facilities associated with life-long learning.

Jason Boone ALEP, Assoc. AIA, MCPPO, Senior Associate & Educational Facility Planner, Dore + Whittier Architects
Jason has nearly twenty-five years of experience as a classroom teacher and educational facility planner. He is a leader in the A4LE organization and serves in several different capacities. Jason facilitates Harvard Graduate School of Education's Learning Environments for the Future. He holds a bachelors of science in Secondary Mathematics Education and a Masters of Architecture degree from the Boston Architectural College. He is also an Accredited Learning Environment Planner. 

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

LearningSCAPES 2021

October 14-17
Hyatt Regency | Denver, CO