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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Education Nation and The Human School

This article by Laurie Borland was first published on

MSNBC's Teacher Town Hall meeting, on Saturday, kicked off this week’s 2nd Annual Education Nation Summit. The town hall meeting was great for best practices and making teachers feel like they have a voice. Brian Williams, Tamron Hall and Rehema Ellis did a great job making it look like a prime time venue. Melinda Gates did a wonderful job discussing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its role to help give teachers a voice to elicit new pedagogy. With the use of technology, like the Teacher Wall that was a result of last year’s 1st Summit, they can get a better handle on what teachers are saying with real time opinions, best practices and ideas on improving our education system.

One thing I was disappointed with in regards to the guests at the Teacher Town Hall meeting was that I didn't see any government representatives; they were to come later in the week. Every town hall meeting I have seen is always joined with a government official of sorts.

My main concern is what really is going to come out of this annual meeting? At first, I was quite concerned, but as I watched the media throughout this past week, I have seen how others are beginning to interact and discuss topics with the use of humanism and results orientated based pedagogy that have already taken place around the country. We need to continue to strategize and find what works for the children in each of our communities, but that flexibility needs to exist so that the job can be done right.

We seem to be getting closer to a solution. We need to pull together and make our schools a place where we look at the whole child and remember that they are human. A child who is not happy is not going to learn well, if at all. The Hawn Foundation, founded by Goldie Hawn, believes this as well.

We need to find passionate teachers to do this prestigious job. We need to treat them as the professionals that they are. We need to make sure they are getting the support they need for their classroom in regards to technology and budget money so they can serve the students as effectively as possible. We need to provide the proper salary so that they can get the continuing education training they need to advance their mind and pass the innovative idea's they learn along to their students, allowing them to be the teacher they were meant to be. At times, we are going to find teachers who aren't doing the job as we expected and there should be a policy for that. Our children cannot be put at risk because a teacher is unable to do the job of effective teaching.

The schools of the future will be called the human schools. As a human race, we have always pondered questions like "To be or not to be", we have learned to evolve through language, introspection and problem solving, but we have also learned to use the higher levels of processing such as self-awareness, rationality and wisdom. We continue to evolve every day. We need to take what we have learned and make our education system a place of growth and development for the human child so that they are able to use their critical thinking skills to build a brighter tomorrow.

Today, I feel confident we are moving in the right direction. Many people are standing up with empathy and passion for this institution we call education. We are fighting the battle and beginning to win....but there is a long road ahead. Today, we are moving from not only just talking about issues but to strategizing and implementing these new ways of teaching while considering the whole human child....that alone supports continuing evolution. So please, stand up and let your voice be heard, but be prepared to support your statements and get dirty trying to rebuild the schools of the future because that is what being human is all about.
You +1'd this publicly. UndoHappiness, or the state of being happy, is a human emotional condition. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other living species on Earth. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience,[7][8][9] are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a "person".[10][11]

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