Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do we need to change?

A couple of days ago TheCleverSheep responded to George Sieman's recent post asking for answers to a few seemingly simple questions:

  1. Does education need to change?
  2. Why or why not?
  3. If it should change, what should it become? How should education (k-12, higher, or corporate) look like in the future?"

Below are my responses:

1. Does education need to change?

“If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got.”

In light of that quote I have to ask, is what we’re producing now good enough for the future? Will our current structures (buildings, timetables, curriculum) prepare our young adults for a future where:
knowledge is accessed with relevant keywords and the press of a button
the lines defining maps and time zones don’t really apply to who you’re able to work with on projects
the available jobs haven’t even been dreamed up yet?

Personally, I don’t think so. I think we’re very good at producing citizens equipped to work within the lines, who believe that their power to recall knowledge defines how ‘smart’ they are, and who look to others to solve their problems.

So, in short, yes I believe our approach to education needs to change.

2. Why or why not?

If education does not shift to align itself with the present and prepare itself for the future I feel that an increasingly wide divide between educated and “drop out” will grow because more and more students will disengage from the system. We need to give our students the best opportunities to succeed in life – that’s the bottom line. If we’re not doing that, we’re failing them.

3. If it should change, what should it become? How should education (k-12, higher, or corporate) look like in the future?"

Something more than it is now - something collaborative, with the teacher acting more as a mentor with smaller groups, inspiring, creative, flexible... Personally, I'd love something like the picture as my classroom...

Iridesco has a really neat upstairs office in their space

Image by: Amit Gupta @


Rodd Lucier said...

I like that photo too Nic.

While many classrooms are flexible enough to accommodate a range of classroom activities, far too many teachers force students to work exclusively from their own utilitarian desks.

Nic Mobbs said...

There's something...energetic about the image for me.

We're still bound up with the idea of a "classroom" which has enough desks and chairs, a whiteboard out the front, now with a secured projector and internet access.

I love working with our senior students but I am a little jealous of my hubby who works in our middle school. His plans for next year involve two teachers who, rather than team teach two separate groups, will involve an open plan double space, learning 'pods', fit balls, beanbags and a 'you work where suits you' approach.

I'd love to get rid of half the desks in my classrooms and 'make do' - nothing makes you get creative more than feeling like having to 'make do'.