How Should Schools Change?

The culture of education in school has changed.  Even since I have left as a student in 2012.  I believe as I had stated in a previous blog post, “Learning and Unlearning”, teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge.  Students have access to knowledge through the internet.  Educators must become facilitators of learning. Too often we see teachers that are stuck in their ways, that have used classroom content that is no longer relevant, or teachers may not keep up to the best teaching practice of today’s age.  These are problematic problems that are happening in our schools.  However, we must also be mindful of how the teaching has changed.  Are we providing opportunities and support for our teachers to take risks and to find relevant content? Are we focusing too much on the content of our teaching or the process of learning?  How can we move students from knowledgeable to knowledge-able?

As educators, we need to shift how we teach students from teaching content to teaching students how to learn.  The Landscape of Learning provides educators many different resources for how to introduce and teach the following skills.

  • Craft Meaningful questions
  • access and apply useful information from resources (information literacy)
  • How to think creatively and critically to solve problems
  • Reflection

Many teachers are still working on unlearning traditional practices such as daily homework, and lecture-based instruction.  For change, there needs to be buy-in from teachers.  Teachers need to be on-board and want to change.

I believe that teachers need to leverage technology as a vehicle for learning.  Many teachers are still using technology as a “one time experience”.  This does not provide opportunities for students to grow or continue their learning.  By using a framework such as the SAMR model and the ITSE standards for students and teachers it can provide teachers with direction to use technology appropriately for their learners.

Teachers are often reluctant to try new tools, or opportunities because they are afraid of failing.   We discussed the terms digital native and digital citizen in-depth in class, and the problematic nature of these terms.  As Leigh wrote about in her blog post, “Some People were born knowing how to use technology without needing to be taught and others do.” Furthermore, I believe this is problematic because many of our students do not have access to this technology outside of school.  These terms are also very superficial.  Many students are aware and understand technology, but they may not understand how the code works, or how the app interacts with our personal data.  We live in an era in which we can make connections that were never possible before.  We can connect students to each other, as educators, we can grow our practices by connecting through tools such as Twitter or by sharing Open Educational Resources (OERs) all which would have been difficult to accomplish in prior generations.

When I think of this question I think back to the traditional classroom. Students in rows, a teacher at the front, students quiet.  Yes, there still may be appropriate times for this to take place.  But effective learning studies have shown otherwise.   If we provide opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning such as “self-reported grades“, or provide learning opportunities such as the “jigsaw method” these teaching practices have shown that students will be more successful according to John Hattie.

In our curriculum, we have outcomes that refer to the content of what we are teaching students.  As a society, we need to take a step back and look at the skills that we are teaching students.  These goals are found in the front of our curriculum.  We want to teach our students to become lifelong learners, develop a sense of self, community, and place, and to be an engaged citizen.  If we follow Michael Wesch’s concept of knowledge-able we can put a focus on these bigger goals inside our curriculum. Combining these opportunities with the standards laid out by ISTE provides a framework that I try to follow as an educator.  How are you trying to improve your practice as an educator to more from knowledgeable to knowledge-able?

 

 

3 thoughts on “How Should Schools Change?

  1. Hey Curtis, thanks for sharing the SAMR model–it’s a great way to help our teaching ideas live (and die). Never read Michael Wesch’s stuff, so thank you for sharing his work about knowledge to knowledge-able. 🙂

  2. Curtis,

    I appreciate how you mention that teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Something that always gives me a laugh is when my students ask a question and I don’t know the answer or I make a mistake and they say, “What?! You’re the teacher!?” I think the idea of learning alongside your students or your students teaching you something new is still relatively fresh. It shouldn’t be just teaching content anymore, but teaching students how to think, learn, and problem solve. This also makes me think of teaching students about how to engage with the digital world. Sometimes it is assumed that just because kids are tech-savvy and have been interacting with technology at a younger age, doesn’t mean they really know how to use these devices responsibly. This is another skill that involves critical thinking and problem solving.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  3. Hello! I agree with all your thoughts. I like what you say about teachers having to ‘unlearn traditional practices’. This is so true when teachers are stuck in their own way. Change is hard but necessary in the world we live in. I believe school boards need to be implementing time for teachers to explore these ideas and learn beneficial practices. Teachers may be scared of failing as you mentioned but I also believe time is a factor in trying new things as we are always swamped. Thanks for your insights! 🙂

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