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Making Change

John Maxwell said that people change for 3 reasons:CourtenayElementaryGirls

1. Because they hurt enough they have to

2. Because they learn enough they want to

3. Because they receive enough they are able to

Education is a field that resists change more than perhaps any other. To make a sweeping generalization, we still see classrooms much like when public school was first invented; kids in desks, quietly keeping busy with tasks provided by the teacher standing at the front. This is an efficient, simple, and effective way of meeting the original goal of public education, which was to prepare children for work in the factories of the industrial world and to keep kids busy so the parents could be a part of that industrial world. Of course there are many wonderful exceptions to that model, but for some reason not enough.

The world has changed dramatically since these original days of the factory.There are very few jobs that require mindless obedience and menial tasks. Knowledge is no longer controlled only by the teacher and the author of the book in a child’s hand. In fact, knowledge is so accessible now that it has become obsolete. Einstein said that “imagination is more important than knowledge”. What matters now is how students acquire, integrate, and build on the knowledge and skills they have. Educated people are no longer the receivers of knowledge, but creators of new ideas to be shared with the world.

I believe change is here, schools just need to catch up. The factory system of school has hurt kids long enough, we know enough about change, the brain, and the needs of our society, and we have received the support we need that we have no excuse to not change our schools.

At Courtenay Elementary School, and many other schools, we are willing to take chances to create our own change. We have embarked on a number of projects that look different. We have a grade 4/5/6 inquiry-based classroom, we have staffing directly aimed at building self-regulation skills in our students, we involve our community partners and neighbours in supporting the entire family unit, we provide a comfortable, caring place where kids play, are fed, and have the chance to change themselves. I invite parents and the community to open their minds to a new model of schooling that will prepare kids to not only prepare themselves for the real world, but to create their world.

by Kyle Timms, Principal, Courtenay Elementary School

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