Community as the Classroom

In his wonderful book, The Schools are Children Deserve, renowned educational commentator Alfie Kohn shares his view that “the children we teach best are the ones who need us the least.” As a longtime teacher and school leader who has worked in a full spectrum of schools from privileged to highly. One of the most inspiring stories I have heard about creating a culture of learning for those who need it most comes from a wonderful TED Talk ( led by a young designer-educator, Emily Pilloton, working in a poor area of Eastern North Carolina. She shares about some major systems-based approaches that community has rallied together to bring the schooling and education out of the four walls of the schoolhouse and into the community in a way that is redefining and reinvigorating the face of the town and restoring the pride and purpose of the young people there, where they are viewed as community assets. To do this, as Kohn suggests, she has called on the school and teachers there to challenge and then change the conditions that are impeding moving the education “our children deserve” forward. Here is the link to video. When you get some time, take a look. It’s pretty cool.