The Original Boutique School

10

November 27, 2011 by rlewiscordell

Fellow Thinkers:

I follow the blog of a fellow educator that blog by the name Ed Buzz. His stuff is on the edge and thought provoking.

Ed Buzz posted, “To evolve, public school districts need to understand that the real secret is to become more boutique – to offer smaller, more specialized programs with better customer service and personalize the experience”.  I agree.

This thinking is in line with mine. I am publishing a book as you read this blog.  The book is titles New School.  It is about running your classroom like a one room school.  “The themes of this short book include an examination of the lessons that can be learned from the old one-room schoolhouse, the teacher leadership movement, and the need to restore our schools.  The book challenges the assumption that uniformity and school districts enhance the quality of education.  While the nation is rushing headlong toward national standards and curriculum, I urge serious educators to look in the rearview mirror to see where we have been and to remember what was great about it (Cordell, 2011).

Adapting and evolving is built on a foundation of perpetuating organism’s most favorable traits.  The one room school of the early 1900s was a boutique school.  The personal connectedness is one such trait.  The one room school was concerned with educating children.  The one room school was not an assembly line – as if schools became and remain in present day America.  In the one room school, everyone found a way to work it out.  It — meaning everything!  We have lost that in our school system.

Today’s teachers are teaching tomorrow’s learners in yesterday’s schools.  Public schools have a tired and worn out approach.  There has been a fundamental shift in our students that many of seem to have missed.

What do you think fellow thinker?

R Lewis Cordell

10 thoughts on “The Original Boutique School

  1. The Ed Buzz says:

    Wow, I am honored. I’m glad I could help.

  2. Andee says:

    Hi, Ron. I am following Ed Buzz too. He posts great stuff there. I found you while I was checking his blog. :) However, I agree with you, and as a student I have been often bothered by different issues in the educational system. Something must be changed, it’s true, but who is going to do it?
    What I am happy about is that many people debate about this topic .. so it means they are trying to find solutions, which is good. :) Secular education wasn’t too bad, maybe better than what we have today, but the educational system and the professionals should adapt to “today”; just like you mentioned: “Today’s teachers are teaching tomorrow’s learners in yesterday’s schools.”

    I also approached the topic on my blog: one is about the educational system and it’s ineffectiveness:
    http://andreealbu.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/move-to-think/

    and the other one is about a new way of looking at the “learning” process through a well-know method, you must have heard of it – Learn by doing – http://andreealbu.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/learn-by-doing/

    This type of learning method has already been applied in some “schools” in UK – so some are really doing it – not just talking about how applicable it is – they apply to.

    I would love to debate!!

    Take care .. and keep the good work.

  3. Siobhan says:

    Hi Ron,

    I can’t wait to get a copy of New School and learn more. Keep up the good work!

    -Siobhan

  4. Daniel Digby says:

    Although I feel the same when you have an outstanding teacher, you’re much more likely to be screwed by getting a schoolmarm or worse. There are school systems that keep teachers who are obviously senile, and I had the misfortune of getting one of them in graduate school. I don’t know that any particular system consistently produces top-quality education, but the there are certainly some that outclass the others in many respects. It seems to me that the one-room school idea promotes the luck of the draw. I’ll have to read what you have to say when it comes out.

  5. You are on to something here, very much in keeping with what I am getting at through fiction (my novel ms, Lost Apple). Please keep an eye on my work. Together we can change paradigm behind the “failing” educational discourse in this country. I am really glad I ran into you. I will continue reading your blog. Looking forward to your book too!

  6. amian74 says:

    Hi Ron,
    I just came across your post since you had read mine on the private vs. pulic schooling conundrum. I am not a school teacher. I am a pediatrican, I have kids going to public school in Houston. I have been working closely with high school and college students in Houston on education reform initatives for South Asia (Pakistan, India, etc.). In my experience, getting young children in Houston to think about how their peers in the “less developed” (in inverted commas because I have a problem with labeling regions of the world as developed vs. undeveloped) world can be better educated, leads to amazing discussions!
    I lok forward to reading your book.
    Thanks.
    Asad

  7. jickeymoe says:

    Ron, Your idea of a “boutique school” sounds good but I do have some issues with it. First of all, and I hate to say this, I do not think it is a fiscal possibility for public schools at this time. (I am a staunch supporter of the public system.) Also, the one room school was not much different in terms of what went on in the class room that what happens now. For me it is the way we educate the students rather than the structure of the system. I taught in a high school with 1300 students but in my class room I used what I considered a progressive and more effective method of teaching. I moved from the “banking” method where the teacher just gives the knowledge to the student as if they were empty vessels to a dialogue with the students. Both of us were teachers and students. Not only did the students then become active participants in their education but they could guide the curriculum to what they saw as relevant to them and their future lives.
    I will say the idea of personnal relationship with the student that could develop within the one room school is very important, but, again, that is not impossible in a larger setting. My proudest moment came when at my last graduation before retirement. Students spoke of each of the retirees and the comment that made me most proud was that, “Mr. Mercer always had time for a conversation with a student.”
    So, again for me it is not the structure but what goes on in the classroom that is what needs to change in our current system. I do want to say, keep writing and thinking because the more voices that talk about change the greater chance of their being change.
    Mickey

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