The Trump Plan For Education
No, silly, we are not talking about that Trump. We are talking about the foremost education reformer in the 1960's...J Lloyd Trump (no relation to the former President). Good Ol' J Lloyd Trump was second only to John Dewey in the high esteem educators viewed him when he was at his most influential.
His biggest idea was something that morphed into the Model School Project (MSP). MSP had as it's goals:
- The school principal must devote a majority of his or her time to the improvement of instruction.
- The instructional staff (those who facilitate learning) must be reorganized using instructional aides to give teachers more freedom for instructional planning.
- Students need more time for independent study.
- Combined large group, small group instruction and independent study;
- Team teaching
- Flexible scheduling
- Recognition of students' and teachers' individual differences
The MPS sounds a lot like the things we are talking about now around personalized and/or customized learning. As a matter of fact, there is a thread of failed education reforms beginning in the 1890s that tried to make schooling more learner-centered. The 1910s had John Dewey. the 1930s had radical participation of students and teachers movement, the 1960s had our good buddy J Lloyd Trump. The 1990s had outcomes-based education. Finally, we now (in the 2010s) have personalized learning, customized learning, and standards-based learning.
I mentioned earlier that every other attempt to change education to a more learner-focus failed...gulp! Why did they fail? Trust me, books have been written about this, but I will answer the question in a few sentences...or you can read all of the books yourself!
So why did these reforms fail?
These reforms attempted to change what Larry Cuban calls "the grammar of schools." Much like grammar in language serve as unwritten (and unnoticed) rules, there are structures in schooling that are noticed. When a reform tries to change the grammar of schools (things like having no grades, grade levels, age-based grouping), everyone impacted (and I mean everyone) rebels against it and nothing changes.
You may be asking yourself, "Well, Butler, that is a real kick in the teeth...so why should we even attempt to do 'learner-centered' in my school?"
To which I go back to something I mentioned at the beginning of the newsletter. Why don't you just concentrate on making your school just a little bit more learner-centered and better for learners and teachers every day?
After a few years, you will look back and find that you have changed your school.
It is more learner-centered.
You did tackle some of the "grammar" of the schools.
Putting your nose to the grindstone and just doing the work will make you more successful than good ol' J Lloyd Trump...or his namesake!