A New Process and A New View
I need to point out that many of the ideas that I will mention are not mine but rather come from many different sources that I have studied. I have enjoyed the openness and honesty of retired teachers as well as present day teachers and employers who are deeply concerned about the preparedness of graduates looking for work. I have coupled some of my own ideas which coincide with the work of those who have painstakingly done the leg work along with the fertile minds of researchers and scientists who have not been limited by those who have a great deal of power in the system and who do not support any whole sale change to the system.
It’s a new paradigm that we need to create here. That is where our salvation will be born so lets consider the following:
Our classrooms need to be developed with community in mind instead of a barracks type environment. There needs to be more thought given to creating a ‘work state’ environment-a place where students can share conversations, ideas and where they can be challenged to search for solutions to practical everyday problems.
We need to do away with the old system of grading students so that they can progress through their education at their own pace instead of the A,B,C method. We need to be looking at ‘ready to move on to the next level, needs more support and time at this level or is prepared to move to a combination of this and this as markers instead. The student needs, at the very least, to be a part of any discussion about what is next for him/her–do they feel prepared to go to the next level and so on. The decision to move , to change courses, to determine their interest and skill levels needs to be more about their input and not whether the system thinks it is time. The paradox is that students would likely travel through the system quicker if they had the feeling that they had more control over their learning objectives and less pressure to perform.
Homework needs to be taken up in the classroom and new information needs to be considered at home by doing research and exploring the millions of bits of data that are available at the touch of a button. We have access to unlimited data at our fingertips through the internet. School focus needs to focus more on how to research and how to determine/interpret facts rather than the other way around. Retaining data is not near as important today as it was 15-20 years ago. The time spent trying remember data needs to be used to teach kids how to gather the data–how to utilize it and apply it to their chosen field of interest and creating and understanding the processes involved in applying their skills to their career interests. Creativity will be one of the most important factors in the next 20 years not reciting data by rote. Our teachers then become more coaches and support folks who have the ability to teach lessons from the questions of the students. They become less a talking head and more of a mentor. Our kids need leadership not directorship.
One of the most important changes that will need to take place is for the student to be able to select the subject matter that excites him/her and that they are motivated to study. The system currently tells them what they will study so again, if we want to retain their passion for learning and their enthusiasm to attend school we will need to let them determine what it is they want to study. This is how they will figure out their career path and spend fewer dollars studying topics they have no interest in. What we need to understand about today’s technology is that it has dramatically changed how our kids learn. Put them together in work teams with a couple of computers and they will learn as much or more about a topic because they teach each other through trial and error and discussion about how to do this or that. This would lessen the teachers time spent ‘teaching’ so they could spend more time with the ‘challenged’ learners. It would provide more one to one time.
There is so much more to consider, to recognize and to understand about a world that has changed and we have not kept pace. We are trying to use a system that is failing miserably and we can’t seem to figure out how to stop that trend. Read ‘Abundance’ by Kotler and Diamandis. They describe the possibilities and the need to change so brilliantly. The read is so clear and easy to take in. You will come away with a different feeling about what and how you want this generation and the next educated. You will be inspired and hopeful instead of saddened or frightened wondering how we can continue as we are. Most importantly our kids will be the great beneficiaries of the new approach that has to come. If we do this right our children will live in a much safer, a more interesting and productive world with far greater opportunities to contribute to society than they are destined for under the current way of doing business.
Anyways, that’s how I see it, all the best, Jim
Please pass this on to your friends on facebook and the other social media sites as well as your neighbours and family members. If you have any ideas or comments please send them along to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR through my web site at jimcloughley.com