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Area educators discuss new ideas to be better teachers

Teachers today need to unlearn things to better serve students in a rapidly changing world, according to Chris Lehmann, founding principal and CEO of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, who spoke to 240 Finger Lakes educators in Newark Thursday.

“What can we unlearn that will allow us to create better schools?” he asked.

As an example, he cited being ahead of the curve several years ago, teaching his students to read and write in html, something that even garnered national attention.

Asking how many in the room learned math from a slide rule, he said two years after Microsoft came out with an update, he was still teaching html, but it wasn’t what the kids needed anymore.

Lehmann said teachers need to teach what is good for the kids, not what is good for themselves.

“Think about 60 years ago,” he said. “The closest thing to Amazon was a Sears catalog. We have no clue what 60 years from now will look like. The most important thing kids will need is nimbleness of mind.”

Lehmann was one of several speakers at a two-and-a-half-day Wayne Finger Lakes Leadership Academy, focusing on “Engaged Leadership: Creating Healthy Schools.”

He talked about the frustrations of dealing with his two sons’ teachers, few of whom saw them for who they were, but more for their grades and statistics, leading Lehmann to start his own inquiry-driven, project-based high school where the core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection are emphasized in all classes.

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