In the real world, where I get paid to work, I have found myself in seemingly constant discussions of late, centered around how we do school. I find the discussions a bit redundant – as many of the people in these discussions are completely comfortable doing what has always been done in school. I can almost here the inevitable voice, “that’s not the way we do things,” or “we never did it that way when I was a student.”
These two quotations may be my undoing as a vice-principal – after all I have been doing the job for a whole month and half.
(note the gent on the left – I imagine this would be how my principal might react if I lost it…this is all in jest and in no way do I condone violence as a problem solving mechanism)
While I do joke, it is important for educators to examine how it is we do school. What do our students need so that they can be successful in the world they will live in and lead? If we do things the same way – how can we expect a different result?
The tools we have today in our pockets make much of what we have done in the past century, well, things of the past. If our students can do our assignments and pass our tests with out so much as doing any more than ”Googling” the answers, we are not preparing them for the world in which they live. We need to embrace the social tools of today, give up the stage, and embrace the new role that teachers must fill today. Every revolution in history eventually favored those who embraced change. It is time to move on, throw away our need to hold on to what we know, and work toward creating the next generation of education.
– Dave Meister as part of a post on the “Connected Principal” (this may be a pingback, but I don’t really know how to do that – unless this works and then of course I knew exactly what I was doing).
I think that we would all agree that the situation Meister discusses continues to occur in schools – less and less, but it still happens and it begs the question – what do we think students are going to get out of the exercise? Are we really teaching students, directly or indirectly, the concept of sensemaking and wayfinding? George Siemens, in his lecture this week discussed this concept and I found myself thinking that students are far more adept at this concept than most adults as it is a necessity in the world they live in and have grown up in.
Will Richardson, on the site districtadministration.com, in a post entitled “Lifelong UNlearning” describes the need for all of us to be “unlearners.”
“Unlearning is required when the world or your circumstances in that world have changed so completely that your old habits now hold you back. You can’t just resolve to change. You need to break a pattern, to free yourself from old ways before you can adopt the new.” In case you haven’t noticed, the circumstances in our world of education have changed radically. The information that our students once came to us to learn now resides in millions of places online.
I cannot help but think – that because our technological world is changing as quickly as it is – that perhaps the greatest thing we can teach young people is the skill of being an unlearner. Essentially, teaching them how to learn and relearn.
Even more importantly, the students in our classrooms need to be adept and agile unlearners, as well. At a moment when knowledge is expanding at an ever more rapid rate, much of what they “learn” from us will be obsolete or irrelevant in short order. They’ll need to be constantly able to unlearn and relearn using the technologies of the moment as part of an ongoing interaction with knowledge.
I think that this speaks loudly, to the need for students to see teachers – as learners too – expanding our worlds and learning new things.Imagine…even learning with our students.
How are you doing school differently? What are you teaching students so that they can be successful tomorrow? Is your class about “googling” the answers? Are you an unlearner?