Dr. Roland Fryer, an economist who started The Educational Innovation Laboratory at Harvard, is working to make learning more effective. Dr. Fryer conducted a scientific evaluation of many high performing charter schools around the country and discovered five universal, research-based, successful school strategies to make learning more effective:
- Effective Principals and Teachers in Every School (while getting rid of the ineffective ones).
- More Instructional Time (An extended school day and year).
- Use of Data to Drive Instruction (Always be aware of students’ strengths and weaknesses, and when the students don’t learn it, re-teach!).
- High-dosage, Individualized Tutoring (so every child in the classroom can learn).
- A Culture of High Expectations for All (no excuses for failure).
Source: “Wake Up! We Know How to Fix Our Schools” by John Legend. October 4, 2010.
This is my last post about the book Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen.
Overall, I’d recommend this book. There are some valid points, in my opinion, that any educational system, teacher or reformer should take note of, including:
- There is the status quo, there is incremental change, and then there is disruptive innovation that causes a breakthrough improvement in learning. This book provides details on how you can implement disruptive change for the better, just like the personal computer disrupted the mainframe. Hint: don’t try to take on the “system” head-on; instead, look for ways NOT to compete with the system…to go around, work with or work underneath the system.
- Children learn differently. Batch training children in all the same way does not make sense, so why do we continue to do it?
- Learning in the future will take place in two phases: 1) computer-based learning will improve, and 2) student-centric technology will be developed that will customize the learning experience to each student’s needs (think Individual Learning Plan customized by the student herself, automatically by a computer)
- Modularity in learning is critical. Instead of a monolithic mode of teacher-led instruction, a new model of peer-to-peer learning — supported by computer-based learning and student-centric technology — will emerge that will allow certain parts of learning to take on a new format that will be more efficient than is currently being accomplished. Hint: think about taking one aspect of instructor-led learning, and moving it online through a game, into a blog, into a physical activity, etc. Try something new to decentralize learning.
Anyone else read Disrupting Class and have any additional thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
[Photo credit: Hampton Roads Partnership]