The Next Generation School

 

The Daily Post asks “You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?”

 

After spending a semester thinking about the way students learn today in comparison to the way they learned in the past, I’m ready to entirely revamp our school system.  We need a school system that focuses more on individual education, learning, and development rather than test scores and comparison between students, states, and countries.  Our legislation and our school districts need to support educators, giving them the funds and resources they need to do their jobs well.  Educators also need to be encouraged to continue to educate themselves, modeling the learning process to their students.  Gone are the days when teachers can learn all they need to know and turn around and teach it.  It’s no longer about retaining information; we have Google for that.  It’s about evaluating the validity and reliability of information, thinking critically about it and putting it to good use.

 

What does that mean for our classrooms? It means that we need to stop emphasizing memorization and start focusing on application.  It means more opportunities to experiment in labs instead of memorizing formulas.  It means making deeper connections to real world applications of mathematics principles.  It means using vocabulary words rather than memorizing their definitions.

 

More importantly, it means giving students the opportunity to become the investigators and the experts in the classroom.  Teachers become the facilitators of learning rather than the ones with sole responsibility for imparting knowledge.  This will likely be a tough transition as many educators are used to the hierarchical structure of the traditional classroom.

 

This change in education doesn’t devalue the core subjects, rather it places more emphasis on the use of information rather than the collection of knowledge.  Curriculum will need to change to scaffold student learning and encourage them to take ownership of the learning process.  They need the tools of today’s world– computers, tablets, smartphones, software, interactive tools– that prepare them for a life of learning.  Information in texts is quickly outdated and severely limits the scope of a students learning experience.  Furthermore, texts and lectures fail to capitalize on the collaborative, interactive nature of students learning preferences.  Before they even get to school children learn their numbers and letters through interactive toys; they learn to read and basic math through video games.  If this is the style of learning familiar to students and appreciated by them, why not take advantage of it?  Bring on the gamification of learning!

 

Gone are the days when professionals emerge from college full trained. Instead, people are constantly going back to school, taking online courses, and informally educating themselves long after their degree is earned.  The K-12 classrooms need to prepare students for their future– a future that looks much brighter for those who continue to educate themselves through their own initiative and diligence.  In order to do this, the classroom needs to be a safe place to learn, to explore, to make mistakes, to challenge ideas and to create new meaning through the evaluation and synthesis of information and experience afforded to them.

 

Spend less money on books and less time on tests.
Focus more on critical thought so students learn best!

 

 

 

 

 

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About DMarie2484

Devon Marie Purington is a Book-Readin, Article-Draftin, Muscial-Watchin, Coffee-Drinkin, Chocolate-Cravin, Pixie-Obsessing, Children-Adorin Residence Life Coordinator with a passion for education and student development inside the classroom and beyond.
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