Monday, August 10, 2009

The New Progressivism

I kept a folder on my desk last year and titled it "Ideas." Throughout the year I put in articles to ponder, strategies big and small to use, handouts from faculty meetings, my own lists of notes and intentions for next year. It's next year now so I dusted off the folder this afternoon, found some gems and threw away just as many pages that are now either not as thought provoking or have become incorporated into my lesson plans already.

In the batch I found an article titled "The New Progressivism Is Here" by Peter Gow for NAIS, National Association of Independent Schools, April 30, 2008. Here are my notes.

Gow defines key characteristics of the New Progressivism as practiced in independent schools throughout the nation as the following.
  • assessment against high standard: drawing on Gardner, Wiggins, and Sternberg including backwards planning, variety in assessments, project & problem based learning, and seeing textbooks and teachers as resources
  • professional development is mission-driven and collaborative
  • encouraging students to make real-world connections
  • multiculturalism as a process, not a program
  • character and creativity are encouraged and rewarded and "help students discover and strengthen deep and abiding personal values"
  • civic engagement
  • technology as tool to enhance learning and "freeing the mind for more interesting and worthy challenges"
the goal: "innovative, flexible, and resourceful citizens and thinkers"

Now for my reflections:
This year I'd like to spend some time evaluating my assessments. As a school, we are reading Understanding By Design by Wiggins and McTighe (that should take care of the prof dev point too). Stage two in the UbD pattern is on assessment, so I prarticularly looking forward to that part.
Do you have any great assessments that encourage your students to be "innovative, flexible, and resourceful"?

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