Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Math is not the most important subject!"

I agree with Ken Robinson's quote in in the title of this post. I agree that we've all been given the message that there is a clear hierarchy in schools with the math and sciences being at the top, the arts at the bottom, and everything else in the middle. We're also all quite familiar with the disconnected nature of schools where information is packaged into neat little bundles called subjects that are taught at different grade levels. The real world doesn't know "subjects." And we certainly don't know a world where we work with everyone in teams where all members are of the same age (wow, that would be really weird). Everything is inter-related and connected. Perhaps this model worked in a 20th century world where information was scarce and came at a premium, but I'm not so certain it will continue to work going forward. So what are we going to do??

I'm wondering if schools, with their industrial age model of departments, grade levels, bell schedules and gate keepers of knowledge will ever be able to make the systemic transition to a place where students are doing real work. Perhaps this is where Christensen's theory of "Disruptive Innovation" will come into play.

In this video you'll see wonderful examples of some schools that pioneering a model where members of the learning community are doing real work.

Be sure to watch this 8 minute video in its entirety. It is an excellent overview on project based learning and interdisciplinary learning. A special shout out goes to Mrs. Durff for sharing this on her blog.


  1. Thank you for posting this video. I agree with your comments and as we look at our schedule next year and try to meet the needs of all our students, I hope these examples of schools that work really lights the fire under us for real rather than band-aid types of change.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Cathy. I think there is some tension between a model that was built for information scarcity and an environment where there is an abundance of information. I agree...the samples in the video are definitely wonderful models for us to aim for.