Monday, August 10, 2009

What do I mean by "More Thoughtful"?

Is this more thoughtful? I hope so. I hope that this blog is more thoughtful that most of what you read about education or education policy. But that is not really what the title of my new blog refers to.

Title refers to the need generally for society to be more thoughtful, and particularly the need for more thoughtfulness in education.

Our schools need to prepare students to be more thoughtful, and to do this we need more thoughtful teachers. Teachers need to think more about what they are doing in the short term, especially how it fits into their longer term goals for their student. Teachers should think more, individually and as a group, about how their long term goals fit together and how those longer term goals taken together comprise a meaningful education.

Of course, shifting our teacher corps to a more thoughtful stance requires more thoughtful school leadership. I do not mean to imply that such a thing is easy. School leaders have inundated with responsibilities and cries for attention from all areas and every imaginable constituency. So much falls to school leaders that it is hard for them to have time to think, let alone to be thoughtful. But we need our leaders to lead, not just run things and respond to crises. If we are going to have more thoughtful teachers, their leaders need to model this behavior, encourage it and reward it. We need more thoughtful school leaders.

The chain goes on. How do we get more thoughtful school leaders? Well, their supervisors must also be more thoughtful. They must model, encourage and reward thoughtfulness. And so on, and so on.....

Obviously, high quality schools are not simply a product of thoughtfulness. There are a lot of technical issue, concrete know how, experience, habits and other factors that contribute, as well. I will address many of those things in this blog, too. In fact, most of what I address will be fairly concrete, and might appear to be removed from this idea of thoughtfulness. However, it will always be motivated by my ultimate concern for thoughtfulness both as a goal and a means in education.

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