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The assumptions that limit innovation -- the school year, daily schedule, class size

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- [Voiceover] "If you always do what you've always done, "you'll always get what you've always got." - Now, this quote has been rightly or wrongly attributed to Henry Ford, but regardless of its true origins, it's worth thinking about the essence of this as we redesign schools. - Put another way, every machine is perfectly designed to produce exactly what it produces, and organizations are the same way. Our schools produce the results they do because we've built them in a way to make those results. And it's only by questioning the assumptions at the core of schools, that we can start to think about machines that get very different results. Now, this isn't only about blended learning, but if you're going to redesign a school, you can't just think where is there technology and where is there not technology. You actually have to go at the core assumptions around the calendar, where students go, how we use adults, and redesign schools with those ideas in mind. - So let's dive in. Assumption one that we make is that the school year should be from September through June. Now, we now the origins of this from the agrarian calendar when students had to get off for summer so that they could tend to the farm. But in this day in age, does that still make sense? And even more so when we have evidence about the summer slide that actually affects students from disadvantaged communities where they don't continue to learn during those summers. - So let's put this calendar from September until June into the bucket of things you may wanna reconsider if you're starting from scratch. Assumption two, school should be from 8:30 to 3:30 every day of the week. Three ideas for you to think about in this. One is the brain-based research we're seeing about just how many hours of sleep an adolescent brain needs and the kind of school schedules that would most accommodate that. Secondly, we're in a reality now where many families have both parents working so the custodial hours the schools need to think about may be different than just 8:30 to 3:30. And, lastly, it is interesting to look internationally and compare the number of hours the students are in schools in other countries compared to our own. We'll focus on two of our protagonist schools and look at the schedules they've created around the ideal experiences for their students. - Assumption three. The daily schedule should be fixed for all students so that all students receive the same amount of time in every single subject. Now, this may make sense from a law and order point of view and managing a strict schedule each day, but from the perspective of individualizing and personalizing learning for each student, we have to question whether this still makes sense. - And assumption four, class size is super important and also should be roughly the same all day long. We're gonna start to wonder, what are some of those schools doing to have much larger class sizes at some part of the day and much smaller class size in other and actually be deliberate about that choice versus defaulting to a one-size-fits-all approach. - Assumption five, the default for all students is to be in a group of students in a box with a single credentialed teacher at the front of the room. In this week, we're gonna look at lots of schools that are rethinking how they use staffing to use different adults in different places and reconfigure classrooms in radically different ways to personalize learning for students. - Assumption six, students should almost always be grouped according to their age level and by grade levels. And the history of this is kind of interesting as we moved out of one room schoolhouses into more specialized, elementary, middle, and high school and grade level expertise. But we think it's interesting to say, "Well, why do we continue to still do this?" - Now stepping back. As Brian and I have been working through this course with you, what we've come to realize is that we actually could have retitled this course "Redesigning Schools from the Ground Up." And what we think is really important to point out is that the school leaders that are using blended learning the most interesting ways to boost student learning, they're not just doing this as a cosmetic fix, but they're really thinking through the structures and systems of their entire schools as they do this so that they can meet each student with the need that they have when they have it. - [Brian] So keep these six assumptions in mind, and let's look at how the schools are actually starting to question them as they ask themselves what's the ideal way to run their schools.