Christian Bautista

Educator, Musician, Developer

October 1 ’16

SEL in the Rehearsal Room

Bows click wildly as 5th graders bustle hurriedly around chairs and stands, progressing on inscrutable paths that tend steadily towards their assigned seats: the first of the day’s two music classes begins amidst math, science, and ELA classes in neighboring rooms.

Recounted by an untrained passerby, the events of the next 3 to 4 minutes could be labeled generously as disorderly and perhaps more honestly as raucous, but the 11 year old musicians tuning their cellos and basses by ear are, in fact, carefully siphoning order from chaos. As the calamity begrudgingly surrenders to a familiar “open strings” harmony (or the 5th grade equivalent of it, anyway), 16 scrunched up faces that were busily staring at their neighbor’s strings ease one by one into “aha!” expressions of varying intensity.

What’s happening here? And what’s happening beneath the surface?

A Conservatory Lab Classroom

Much has been said about the need for a hard look at social and emotional learning in our nation’s schools, and indeed socioemotional skills are often - if not categorically - part of a school’s hidden curriculum, or those sets of lessons that are not committed to pen and paper - or maybe not even discussed at all. The trouble with hidden curricula is that they are conveyed with or without the faculty’s awareness, and it only makes sense that school’s that fail to consider the nature of their hidden curriculum are in for trouble, mediocrity, or both.

The Conservatory Model not only deeply considers these hidden curricula but furthermore elevates socioemotional skills into the school’s actual, codified curricula.

March 29 ’16

Can Finland be a Model for Louisiana?

Those who follow the national conversation in education have heard time and time again of the now near-mythical accomplishments of Finland’s education system over the past 30 years. Since the 1980’s, Finland has doubled down on education in general and on teacher training in particular in an unprecedented wave of success. Some - perhaps even many - bemoan the “unexportable” nature of Finland’s system but let’s take a serious look at the idea that Louisiana could look to Finland for an example.

November 26 ’15

First Things First: Part I

In the public conversations surrounding schooling and education in the United States, seldom is a discussion focused specifically on learning or teaching. Swaths of stories published in the media echo the same witless “debates” characterized by passionate diatribes from sleek “ed reformers,” party-line talking points parroted by laughably out of touch talking heads, and well-meaning complaints from furious PTA members: arguments for or against high stakes standardized testing; disagreements over the efficacy (or the political and ethical underpinnings) of the Common Core State Standards; clamor over the benefits and costs of charter systems taking over traditional public schools; legal action threatened over school dress code violations. As these conversations flirt across newspaper and blogs like tabloid headlines, though, veteran educators themselves are pointing to the proverbial elephant lumbering around the edges of the room: we desperately need a national discussion about the purpose of education in this country.