Time Out in Education

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Christopher T. Cross and Milt Goldberg (these are major movers) offer an interesting article about time and schools worthy of reading for anyone addressing school performance.

Their premise is that time is a resource that we haven’t figure out how to use efficiently (is that redundant?) in education. “Learning is a prisoner of time.”

While Cross and Goldberg sometimes use circular logic, their examples alone seem worth considering. For example:

Despite the obsession with time, little attention is paid to how it is used: In forty-two states, only 41 percent of secondary school time must be spent on core academic subjects.

…the new fiction that it is reasonable to expect world-class academic performance from our students within the time-bound system that is already failing them.

I like this statement by William T. Harris, 1894 US Commissioner of Education: The boy of today must attend school 11.1 years in order to receive as much instruction, quantitatively, as the boy of 50 years ago received in 8 years… That point could be made today.

Cross and Goldberg basically argue that to meet global standards for living competitively in the 21st century, information learned by students must become the new standard (independent variable) and time to meet that standard must be flexible (a dependent variable).

The shift to making learning the independent variable makes sense. Using electronic tools today, such as Tablet PCs, to increase individualized learning efficiency and effectiveness seems a step available today to meet that objective today without changing school clock times, yet. So would more direct instruction and direct learning software.

Thanks Tim Stahmer for pointing me to the article. Keep up your good work. And thanks Edutopia for publishing the article.

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.