As has always been the case, schools in the early 21st century are trying to reinvent themselves. The model is broken. Modern times calls for something new. Achievement is not what it could be. And so on.
Today we read about flipped classrooms, tablet/tech support for learning, blended learning, amongst other fads. I mean “fads” seriously. These ideas will not fix the problem with traditional education because they are more superficial solutions. “Playing around at the edges” as I call it. These are not educational innovations that cut to the core assumptions of education. What are those core assumptions?
- that learning means remembering
- that learning can be measured by test taking
- that learning is about “pouring knowledge into the learner”
- learning can be packaged in a one size fits all approach
That’s enough to get going.
Until traditional education is willing to look at its soul, to see that its very identity is rotten, it will not be able to remake itself into anything truly valuable to all children, learners, students. Learning is not about “acquiring”, it is about “becoming” and “constructing”. Each of us is in a process of becoming from the day of our birth. We construct ourselves out of our experiences in our environment, equipped with the DNA package we carry. Education needs to focus on what that environment needs to offer the individual learner, so that s/he can have access to the necessary “stuff of becoming”. Provide a person with the raw material to build themself up from, then stand aside and let them do so. Learning is an active process for the learner. If they are not the active one, then the path to actual learning is closed.
Flip your classrooms, incorporate technology, and otherwise tinker with the model all you want. In five or ten years you’ll be reaching for some other idea that will change education and truly make it effective, and it will always be a distant goal… just out of reach… if only….