Undoing Academic Time
“Time is the “first technology” because it is the most controlling of all the structures which define “school.” Learning is, of course, timeless. It exists in its own temporal zone, unique to each individual, and different for each thing “learned.” But school is all about the clock.”
Time is not on our side. Specifically, academic time.
School schedules frame the world, creating limits on every kind of learning. Let me begin with a 2012 Chris Lehmann quote:
“As long as high school students have to travel to eight different classes where eight different teachers talk about grading / standards / learning in eight different ways, students will spend far too much trying to figure out the adults instead of figuring out the work. When that happens, too many students will fall through the cracks and fail. If we built schools where there was a common language of teaching and learning and common systems and structures so that kind people of good faith can bring their ideas and creativity and passion to bear within those systems and structures and help kids learn, we will find that more teachers can be the kind of exemplary teachers that Mr. Kristof wants.
“As long as there is little to no time in the high school schedule for teachers and students to see and celebrate each other’s shared humanity, too many students will feel that school is something that is done to them, that teachers care more about their subjects than they do about the kids. As long as teachers have 120–150 kids on their course roster, and there is little continuity year to year so that relationships cannot be maintained, too many students will be on their own when they struggle. If we build schools where teachers and students have time to relate to one another as people — if we create pathways for students and teachers to know each other over time, so that every child knows they have an adult advocate in their school, we make schools more human — and more humane — for all who inhabit them.”
Chris, the Principal of Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy and an educator I deeply believe in, was responding to a column by then New York…