Posted by: crudbasher | September 14, 2011

Education Week: The Classroom Is Obsolete: It’s Time for Something New

In all the talk of school reform it’s interesting to listen for what is not talked about. Oh yes we talk about computers in the classroom, and paying teachers more, and test scores but what is missing? Most people tend not to question the structure of the school system itself.

This article discusses how the classroom model is obsolete. I tend to agree. Can anyone make an argument that grouping students based on age and location, and then teaching them the exact same thing is the most effective way to make a school system? It has been proven time and again that individualized learning, based on competency rather than time is the most effective way. Up until now however it hasn’t been practical to do this for every student.

I think this line from the article below is very profound.

research clearly demonstrates that students and teachers do better when they have variety, flexibility, and comfort in their environment—the very qualities that classrooms lack.

I have done a bunch of reading on brain based learning. What I found is that students will learn better when they are comfortable, and engaged in what they are learning. Fear of failure is something to avoid if possible. In fact, we often learn a lot from failure.

It’s quite an interesting article and expresses some thinking that I have seen more and more around the net.

  • Interesting ideas for classroom alternatives

    tags: education classroom obsolete innovative learning nell

    • The overwhelming majority of the nearly 76 million students in America’s schools and colleges spend most of the academic day in classrooms. That’s a problem because the classroom has been obsolete for several decades.

    • Relegated previously to arguments between policy wonks, questions about how we should reform our nation’s schools have now entered the public consciousness in a very real way.

    • Lost in all this hand-wringing is the most visible symbol of a failed system: the classroom. Almost without exception, the reform efforts under way will preserve the classroom as our children’s primary place of learning deep into the 21st century. This is profoundly disturbing because staying with classroom-based schools could permanently sink our chances of rebuilding our economy and restoring our shrinking middle class to its glory days.

    • The classroom is a relic, left over from the Industrial Revolution, which required a large workforce with very basic skills.

    • As the primary place for student learning, the classroom does not withstand the scrutiny of scientific research. Each student “constructs” knowledge based on his or her own past experiences. Because of this, the research demands a personalized education model to maximize individual student achievement. Classrooms, on the other hand, are based on the erroneous assumption that efficient delivery of content is the same as effective learning.

    • research clearly demonstrates that students and teachers do better when they have variety, flexibility, and comfort in their environment—the very qualities that classrooms lack.

    • Let’s look at how the development of a new or renovated school project might evolve if we did it right. We would open discussions with our education stakeholders, who include students, teachers, parents, administrators, community residents, business leaders, higher education partners, and elected officials.

    • The following is a fairly universal list of education design principles for tomorrow’s schools, though it would be tailored to the needs of particular communities: (1) personalized; (2) safe and secure; (3) inquiry-based; (4) student-directed; (5) collaborative; (6) interdisciplinary; (7) rigorous and hands-on; (8) embodying a culture of excellence and high expectations; (9) environmentally conscious; (10) offering strong connections to the local community and business; (11) globally networked; and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning.

    • But the process described above is not how we design our schools today, because we still think that yesterday’s classroom equals tomorrow’s school. Perhaps some would define “success” as students’ ability to perform well on a standardized test, rather than their developing skills to navigate a fast-changing world.

    • Good teachers work hard to overcome the limitations of classroom-based schools, and many succeed in spite of the odds.

    • These initiatives would not necessarily get rid of classrooms, but instead redesign and refurbish them to operate as “learning studios” and “learning suites” alongside common areas reclaimed from hallways that vastly expand available space and allow better teaching and learning.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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