What if teachers had access to a “commodities market” of time?
Last week at the Hun School in Princeton we were prototyping some bold new experiential learning units, challenging the traditional boundaries of time, space, and subject. As almost always happens given this opportunity to expand our thinking, we ran up against the barrier of time and the daily schedule, that Iron Maiden that constricts how we learn because….well, that’s the way school has always been.
One veteran teacher offered the idea: what if we had marketplace of time, like a commodities market, a banking system where a teacher could say, “You know, I really only need three hours this week, not five, so I am going to release my students to other teachers, other work, or collaborative projects, and I will pick up those hours some other time”.
This is very much like what happens every day at schools like Design 39 Campus and many others where teachers, and often students, decide daily or weekly how they will spend their time based on their current needs, not based on some pre-determined, hard-wired daily schedule that was largely crafted for schools 150 years ago. Mark Crotty reminds me that this is a characteristic of the Coalition of Essential Schools, based on the principles of Ted Sizer and others. This kind of thoughtful collaboration puts learning at the heart of what schools do.
Messy? Require more interaction with your colleagues and your students that currently? Opportunities for better and deeper learning? A bit out there? Probably all of the above. What do you think?