Education Transformation

Schoolhouse

During the time that Europe was transforming from an agriculturally based economy to an industrial one, schools were silos for the ‘new’ information needed to succeed in the ‘new’ world. Teachers then were people who delivered content and information deemed necessary for middle-class success. But what role do teachers have now in the 21st century when students carry around in their pockets a device that gives them nanosecond access to all human knowledge? What role does the teacher have now that the role of ‘content deliverer’ is defunct?

schoolroom 2

My suggestion is that a teacher in the 21st century should be a kind of host who structures a space for learning that is socially inviting, emotionally safe and intellectually stimulating. This space would be a reassembly of three historical spaces for dialogue, discussion and debate: the Forum, the Academy and the Salon.

forum

It would be an integration of the Forum where Socrates “corrupted” the youth of Athens with his questions and Plato’s Academy with its intellectually stimulating dialogues but at the same time it would be socially inviting like the Salons held by Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin and also emotionally safe like the classrooms of Maria Montessori.

Plato's academy

This 21st century learning space would integrate the feminine/feminist aspects of the original salons of Italy and France with the masculine aspects of  Plato’s  Academy, resulting in a space that would marry the strengths of both masculine and feminine orientations to provide students with a expansive perspective on knowing, learning, being.

Zinaida_Volkonskaya's_salon

Of course, to be a host of such a space, a teacher would have to have a different set of skills and knowledge than those that are the focus of teacher-education curricula today.

4 thoughts on “Education Transformation”

  1. I am a recently obtained my teaching credential from San Jose State University. In my studies, we learned a lot of educational theories. I have been developing a new educational program that incorporates motivational theories that game developers use. I’m curious in hearing your thoughts on the matter. Furthermore, I think I’ve found a way to allow for a true personalized education.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew Urata

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    1. Congratulations Andrew! I do “game” my classroom sometimes. I’m still on a learning curve with that though but lots of great results. As to personalized learning, it’s possible in all kinds of ways but the problem is that neoconservative governments will not fund it in a systemic way. They would rather buy 100 computers than pay the salaries of 10 teachers to work with students in innovative ways.

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  2. I noticed in one of your “Huffington Post” articles, you discussed the aspect of personalized education as being increased number of computers that students have access. I think it would be optimal to have a one to one ratio of teacher and student, however, we know that it is impractical. The cost of education would skyrocket. We cannot underestimate computers potential for improved education. Many of the current online or educational software assume you can learn just by watching or taking notes. We, as teachers, know that there are many ways people learn. Integration of physical practice is necessary. I believe it is possible to create an education-optimized software and improved educational videos with physical practice integration. This will allow students to work at their own pace and allow teachers to work one on one with students that need a little extra attention. I know that this method isn’t a one-size fits all program, but it could be a one-size fits most. There will, most likely, still be a need for the current classroom model.

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    1. I agree! I run a simulation in my classroom that has both online and in-class components. Technology is a tool that we can use in a myriad ways. The problem is that neoconservative governments see education as an unnecessary expense and so keep looking for ways to defund regardless of impact on students, especially those who need learning support.

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