“What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?”
The tide is turning—Educators, parents, and even some government officials realize that the attempt to mass-produce educated children is not working. The biggest innovation in the classroom will come in the roles of teachers and students. If we start with the end goal of education in mind, which is to create life-long learners, effective communicators, and people with a sense of civic and global duty, then we need to create a classroom that will allow for that.
Students need to drive their own learning and to be problem solvers and collaborators in every aspect of their lives. One way to do this is through experiential learning communities rather than course content classes. This type of community will be similar to a journalism class. A student-run newspaper is experiential learning at its best. Students are engaged; they have taken ownership of the newspaper because it is theirs, not the teacher’s. Students are proud of their work. Students and staff read the journalist’s accomplishments every issue. If any grammar or content errors are found after publication, journalists learn how to correct those errors, so they will not make the same mistakes twice; they do not want to be embarrassed by shoddy work.
Using Journalism as a model, experiential learning classrooms can have students create their own textbooks instead of reading what others have deemed important. Students will search the internet, book sources, and eye-witness accounts for information about their subject matter that is valid and interesting, and then offer commentaries as to why the materials they have chosen are necessary for this subject. All students in the classroom will be responsible for the validity of the information.
Teachers will guide, facilitate, or coach students in their pursuits of knowledge in this type of classroom, rather than be knowledge transmitters and test proctors. Teachers will help students determine the validity and importance of research. Students will learn to answer the questions that drive the subject: Who are the key people? What did they do/discover? How did the great thinkers in these fields influence history and literature? Students will read the works of Jung, Marx, Einstein, Darwin, and Pythagoras, to name a few, and discover how these great minds influenced our world.
Creating experiential learning classrooms will foster student-centered education, allowing students to pursue their education, rather than have it dictated to them. Students can have an individualized education that is typically associated with the online environment, but without the isolation in their own homes. With this innovation, students will have reasons for learning skills that are necessary to succeed in this world with the added benefit of engagement. Students will share and collaborate with other students; they will ask their own questions and research answers. This classroom will be true training for the workplace. Students will discover problems and figure out how to solve them, becoming those life-long learners, effective communicators, and people with a sense of civic and global duty that education aims to create.
To read the answers from the other Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers, go to CMRubinWorld.com