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What is the purpose of education? What kind of people do we want our children to grow up to be? How can we design schools so that students will acuire the skills they'll need to live fulfilled and productive lives?These are just a few of the uestions that renowned educator Dennis Littky explores in The Big Picture Education Is Everyone's Business The schools Littky has created and led over the past 35 years are models for reformers everywhere small public schools where the curriculum is rich and meaningful expectations are high student progress is measured against real world standards and families and communities are actively engaged in the educational processThis book is for both big E and small e educators For principals and district administrators who want to change the way schools are run For teachers who want students to learn passionately For college admissions officers who want diverse applicants with real world learning experiences For business leaders who want a motivated and talented workforce For parents who want their children to be prepared for college and for life For students who want to take control over their learning and want a school that is interesting safe respectful and fun For anyone who cares about kidsHere you'll find a moving account of just what is possible in education with many of the examples drawn from the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center The Met in Providence Rhode Island a diverse public high school with the highest rates of attendance and college acceptance in the state The Met exemplifies personalized learning one student at a time The Big Picture is a book to reenergize educators inspire teachers in training and start a new conversation about kids and schools what we want for both and how to make it happen

10 thoughts on “The Big Picture

  1. says:

    Picked this up from my professor with not so high expectations but I am already loving this book and the ideas behind the Big Picture schools the author discusses It makes me want to go work for one of them

  2. says:

    Read this book in Los Angeles in 2005 as a founding member of a Big Picture project based high school Digging it back out Interested in starting my own school in Detroit To progressive educators get at me if you are interested

  3. says:

    Interesting read and concepts with ideas on how to change education I liked some of his concepts but didn't feel that many of his ideas were feasible with the public schools in my area and wouldn't work unless a school was much smaller Our high school has 3300 students the schools he described had 100 300 or so There is a big difference in what you can do with 100 students vs 3000 I also finished the book wanting description of how the Met was set up I got the gist of it by the end project based learning mentorships outside of school counseling groups exhibitions with parents no bells but there wasn't a clear description of what a typical day was for a student in one spot I do agree that we can each look at what we have control over in education and see how we can improve it

  4. says:

    I have to start by saying I am a huge admirer of the Met School and the work Dennis LIttky has done IN this book as the founder of the Met Schools he shares his thought on education and describes his school However I was a bit disappointed with the book I found the book to be a bit of a combination between his platitudes of what should be and testimonials from students parents etc about how great his schools have been A much better description of the work of the school can be found in One Kid at a Time Big Lessons from a Small School by Eliot Levine

  5. says:

    If you care at all about education read this book It would make for a great book discussion with other educators parents and students

  6. says:

    I have strong praise for Dennis Littky and what he has managed to create and accomplish in the field of education His Met Schools are structured in ways that really promote exceptional learning students and promotes community involvement from teachers families and parents I was motivated to read this book from a colleague who thought it would be good reading for an educator or someone interested in doing education policy I wanted to read about specific structural concepts that Littky employed at his schools I found little of thatThe book is mainly his education related manifesto and the ideas and values that should underlay all schools It's mostly philosophical and abstract notions of the ideal education model with little substance It's a good read for someone new to education but for someone looking for concrete structural reform in education this is not the book

  7. says:

    Everyone should read show what really matter on education

  8. says:

    A great read anyone interested in the topic of schools teaching impacting learning We all have a role to play in improving education for students Inspirational and insightful Read it

  9. says:

    I want to be Dennis Littky

  10. says:

    Thought provoking book that highlights a school that underwent a transformation from ground up with tremendous results If we move to a model that is student at centerteacher at periphery within a distributed learning community one that as Chris Dede states would enable a shift from the traditional transfer and assimilation of information to the creation sharing and mastery of knowledge the teacher has TIME to take on the mentoring role Educators would no longer have to scramble daily to be the fully stocked information vending machine rapidly dispensing knowledge to cover content standardsreuirements instead they could focus time and energy on knowing their learners It is interesting to note that Dennis Littky The Big Picture Education is Everyone's Business calls his teachers at his acclaimed Met School in Rhode Island advisors who have now assumed a very non traditional but highly effective role in the learning process The goal is to create motivated learners not specialists in specific fields We emphasize internships because students learn best when they are deeply engaged in real world projects and because their lifelong success as workers and citizens depends on developing a passion for learningThe Met is strikingly different from most schools Students study fewer topics but in far depth and they work closely with adults inside and outside the school Instead of taking tests they give public exhibitions of what they've learned And instead of grades they receive detailed narratives written by teachers Each student's learning team teacher parents and internship mentor meets with the student uarterly to assess progress and plan upcoming learning activitiesRelationships are the Met's foundation A teacher and 14 students form a tightly knit group that stays together for four years Teachers know each student deeply and have time to help with even the toughest academic and personal problems WashorLittky One Student at a Time 2002That Littky is already proving that it works is very exciting and is beginning to provide the data reuired for the conservativetraditionalist contingency to examine this one student at a time approach which according to Littky costs no than traditional education Here's the 200405 data from The Met schools Graduation Rate 946% Graduation Rate one of the highest in the stateThe state average is 813% and the Providence average is 54% for the city's three largest high schoolsAttendance Rate 921% Attendance Rate The state average is 898% and the Providence average is 80% for the city's three largest high schools#1 in the state Teacher Availability academic The Met 76% High School State Average 46%% of students who feel they can talk to a teacher about academic issues#1 in the state Teacher Availability personal The Met 63% High School State Average 18%% of students who feel they can talk to a teacher about personal or family problemsFor four of the past five years at least one Met graduate has won the prestigious and highly competitive Gates' Millennium Scholarship full tuition for six years of higher education In spring of 2005 two Met seniors were named Gates' scholarsBut to scale this model will reuire a fundamental shift in focus from the standardized test to the learner From teacher as dispenser tester of knowledge to mentor for learners and cultivating a learning community both F2F and virtual where a partnership of mentorship internship providers parents informal educators can support each learner as a uniue individual whose needs are aggressivelyproactively customized personalized The Zone of Mentoring Development ZMD is within our reach Now we need the collective will to move there permanentlyGood link for overview of THE MET