Sunday, November 8, 2009

It Starts At the Top

We were asked: Whose job is it to teach the NETs and AASL standards to students?

I believe that it is a school’s job to insure that students are experiencing and benefiting from the standards. But, when I us the word “school” I am talking about the entire school community - the school board, the administration, curriculum coaches and specialists, the classroom teachers, the support teachers, the specialist teachers, instructional assistants, parent organizations and committees, and anyone else who has a hand in what happens at a school.

I believe that before a school’s instructional staff can teach the NET’s and AASL standards to its students, the governing board and administrators at the school needs to give the teachers the training, tools, and most of all the prep-time to be able to do it correctly.

The members of our COTAIL courses are voluntarily trying to get the training that we need and want but, what about all of the other staff members that need it and rightfully don’t want to give up their “own time”. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that school personnel have the understandings, skill sets, and time that they need to teach and meet the standards?

Schools also need to be willing to provide the tools that are needed. It isn’t enough to have a variety of tools. Schools must have an abundance of those tools. So that teachers have them when they need them. A teacher’s instructional schedule should not be held hostage by the availability of the tools they need to get the job done. Schedules are already dictated too heavily by bus schedules, playground schedules, cafeteria schedules, special classes, support staff schedules, etc. Along with the printed teaching resources that are given to teachers to keep at their fingertips in the classroom, there should be a set of tech tools that are issued to every teacher or in the very least to each grade level and department so that they have them when they need them.

O.k. I have put enough of the burden on schools. There are parts of the standards that must be delivered and monitored by both the school and the parents. Those are the parts that deal with online responsibility. Including etiquette, safety, and respect for others online. At my own home we have recently had a few conversations about appropriate and inappropriate content of one’s Face Book Page. Needless to say there was some un-joining of groups and some deleting of posted comments. Schools can only deliver that message and teach what it means parents need to be the monitors and reinforces when students are away from school.

So in my humble opinion the responsibility for teaching the NET’s and AASL standards to the students belongs to schools but needs to start at the top.

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely. The issue with schools providing training for ALL teachers instead of just the volunteers (in our case COETAIL), is a matter of priorities. At some schools, this learning and focus on student preparedness is high on their list so they do what it takes to bring everyone on board. At other places, they have other priorities or perhaps too many priorities and so things like this get left by the wayside.

    Getting thoughts like this out there and more people valuing it in positions of influence or "say" can hopefully tip that priority to a real school focus.