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benjamin melançon

How 'big ideas' in education work or not work

1 min read

Drawn from https://psmag.com/magazine/the-afterlife-of-big-ideas

What worked:

  • academies of around 90 students
  • advanced students at desks next to kids with learning disabilities
  • four years of staff and teachers planning changes together before they were implemented
  • classes below 25 students
  • 90 minute periods
  • school began 90 minutes later one day per week—time specifically set aside for teachers in each academy to discuss how their students were performing, to plan common lessons, plan college-application workshops, and identify the kids who need extra help like a book being read out loud to them
  • teacher peer review: "critical friends groups" to sit in on other classes and provide critiques afterward
  • school control over budget

What wrecked this, even while structure stays in place:

  • loss of control of budget / not enough money / increasing class size
  • too many special-needs children without major increases in teachers and support staff
  • top-down instead of peer evaluation
  • not enough money, did we mention that?