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Putting a hyper-dimensional peg in a round hole: Addressing the mismatch of NGSS and the structure of schooling (current version)

This was originally presented at the Earth Educators' Rendezvous in July of 2015. Updates will be made to this version, and the original version includes participant responses left intentionally blank here. The original: http://bit.ly/hyper-D-NGSS

Don Haas

on 8 April 2016

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Transcript of Putting a hyper-dimensional peg in a round hole: Addressing the mismatch of NGSS and the structure of schooling (current version)

The vision
of the NGSS is a fundamental mismatch with the structure of schooling.
What does that even mean?
What does it mean?
The fundamental structure of schooling is completely uninformed by research on how people learn.
What's different this time?
Be an ecological engineer within your niche.
The dominance of textbook adoption states is shifting.
for hope
Some educators know how to teach in ways that avoids fundamental structural problems of schooling.
Is not wanting
to address these challenges analogous
to climate change denial?
Is it?
Move from
‘If only...’
‘If I,’ or ‘If we...’

Michael Fullan,
The New Meaning of Educational Change
Putting a hyper-dimensional peg in a round hole:
Addressing the mismatch of NGSS
and the structure of schooling

Don Duggan-Haas, PhD

What do we do?
(There are reasons for hope!)
Efforts at sweeping reform of science teaching have universally failed. What's different about this time?
There was no educational equivalent of Charles Darwin who derived a set of natural laws of education and laid them out in
On the Origin of Courses.
Block out of your mind everything you know about school...
Now, imagine that someone suggests...
for years on end.
Let's put 2000 teenagers in a building...
Sort them into groups of 25 or 30
Have someone talk at them...
...about the Battle of Hastings
for 45 minutes
then move down the hall
and have someone else talk at them
for exactly the same amount of time
about rocks
(or whatever)
let's do this over and over and over again
day after day
year after year
Isn't that a great idea?
Hey! I've got a great idea!
NGSS envisions a level of inter-connection amongst grade levels and disciplines that is exceedingly rare in the post-one room schoolhouse era.
Sweeping changes have happened before.
Geologists, ecologists, geographers and others know something about this.
We know about past unsuccessful efforts and can learn from them.
Just a few generations ago, there were more than 200,000 one room school houses in the US.

Now there are fewer than 400.

Geoscientists know that a few generations is not very long.
Kinds of outcomes of disturbances to systems:
Are we unable to see very clear evidence because we don't like the implications for what we must do?
Do we avoid the discussion because it breaks with the culture of our tribe?
Let's do a pre-mortem
Share one item from your list.
Prospective Hindsight:
One thing you'll do to prevent those problems:
Important questions that we don't
have much
time for!
First, relax.
Now, imagine that it's 2025, and, while some of the vocabulary we use to talk about science teaching has changed, common practice looks very much the same. NGSS implementation has failed.
Timed writing: For 2 minutes, write down all the reasons that NGSS has failed.
The final, and very rare possibility, is that the ecosystem can collapse completely and no regeneration occurs.
Kay, J, Schneider, E.D,. 1995, "Embracing Complexity, The Challenge of the Ecosystem Approach", in Perspectives on Ecological Integrity, L. Westra, J. Lemons (eds) Kluwer, Dodrecht, pp. 49-59.
Is the resistance in both cases grounded in status quo bias and the sunk cost fallacy?
More about the sunk cost fallacy: http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/174-sunk-cost-fallacy
The Sunk Cost Fallacy:
Reasoning that further investment
is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment.
About why addressing climate change is hard: http://www.vox.com/2015/6/14/8767823/psychology-global-warming
These resources are just a start!
Grad school!
longterm immersion; lasting mentor-mentee relationships
The system can continue to operate as before, even though its operations may be initially and temporarily unsettled.
The system can operate at a different level using the same structures it originally had (for example, a reduction or increase in species numbers).
Some new structures can emerge in the system that replace or augment existing structures (for example, new species or paths in the food web).
A new ecosystem, made up of quite different structures, can emerge.
one will NGSS
Gary Klein
is the creator of the pre-mortem and the author of
Seeing What Others Don't.
The NGSS is a disturbance to the educational system that parallels ecosystem disturbances in certain ways.
Most PD?
"Successful" PD?
Charter schools?
Schools are not broken, they just do something fundamentally different from what we pretend they do.
If it ain't broke, ask if a mechanistic metaphor is really helpful.
“I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.”
~ Poul Anderson
(To be completed by workshop participants).
(To be completed by workshop participants).
More here:
This presentation begins with
the same set of slides, but goes in a different direction after this slide.
assessment isn't made to match.
assessment has too much weight
teachers are unwilling to learn new material.
certification process does not change
Unwilling to change a system.
availability bias - cognitive bias
"go" fever
Entire burden on teachers - no resources available
Funding not available
Multiple certifications are costly and slow to earn.
Fear of unknown
Need time to change momentum
Sudden impact rather than slow roll out through grades
Teachers will tend to focus on what is needed for survival first.
It's just all too much!
Structual issues - buildings are not designed for this: "The architecture of crystallized pedogogy"
Administrators not "on board" ex: textbooks
Mentors for teachers, as in a coach for a department or grade level group.
Dept. chairs to encourage (paid) summer curriculum development.
Instructional Specialists became Dept. Chairs (not administrators, just advisors)

We didn't actually record these during the session, but I've added a few I remember...
About why we need new standards
About examples of what NGSS teaching looks like in practice
Collaborate with colleagues across disciplines, grade levels, and districts to enact change
Create and share materials and approaches that satisfy NGSS.
There were several more that didn't get captured...
Full transcript