Like all of the groups on Day 1, Public Education first grappled with how to take a bite off of a very large and complex problem, one that experts have dealt with for years. What’s the point of education? Is it learning how to learn, creating good citizens, affecting change, formulating points of view, working with others…? And how do we define a successful high school education? Is it creating productive members of society, self-actualization, creating a world view, learning how to pass on knowledge, creating an idea that will spread…? This brought them to the difficult subjects of measurement, assessment and standardized tests – infamous perpetuators of impersonal pedagogy. How do we guarantee the success and happiness of a child? Do we follow their passions…do they know what their passions are? How can we restore the wonderment that comes so natural to toddlers and kindergarteners?
So what is a solid, trustworthy framework to work within?
Stephanie Pace Marshall, resident expert, mentioned Howard Gardner’s 8 multiple intelligences and this seemed to be the quantifiable check list the group was looking for.
•Existential (the “ninth” intelligence)
As the day wrapped up, the group established their ultimate question of “what is the purpose of public education?” and within that, outlined their framework question: how can we design for the 8 intelligences?
A series of supporting questions fall within this framework:
•How do we retain a sense of wonder/inquisitiveness?
•How do we get peers to also be advisors?
•How can we give kids recognition?
•How can we structure classes on learning styles?
•How do we create a curriculum that is flexible for the student body?
•How can we use modern tools for learning (i.e. social media, technology, etc.)?
•How do we get kids to take ownership of their own education?
Finally, the team divided into three groups to ensure representation of different aspects of education: social, environmental and curricular.