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When Learning is Compulsory

In the old Instructional Leadership Development (ILD) course there was in introductory video that Larry Lezotte did for Texas on how learning had changed and we were shifting to a time where learning was “compulsory.”  That video was done in 1997 and here we are almost 20 years later and I wonder if the educational culture has fully shifted where the main focus of everyone in the organization is about learning.  If we reflected on our culture would we say that the ecosystem in which we live is consumed by learning?  How can we get there?

  • Response time is crucial.  In compulsory learning environments when students do not learn the adults move heaven and earth to make sure they do.  How fast does your culture respond when students engage in misbehavior? Which response time is faster; behavior or lack of learning? Use of formative assessment and monitoring students speaks volume about your beliefs around compulsory learning for all.

  • Failure becomes less punitive in compulsory learning environments.  It is not the intention of this blog to debate grading or assessment.  We do however know from Trevor in the video blog above that research clearly indicates it is best for people be challenged with things that are just above their current level of competence. If we do that there will be some failure and we need to understand that it will take some longer to learn that others.  Teachers should never relish or take pride in their failure rate as that is not terribly indicative of a job well done!

HB 2804 is looming and districts will be getting a letter grade based on current results in January.  In every accountability system change learning becomes more compulsory. Will you be ready?

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