Phil’s paper is lengthy and it is not my purpose here to cast a cold eye over it but to take one issue of interest and seek your input, dear readers.
Phil has the following tables outlining some ‘false dichotomies in education’ that are of particular interest to those, enthralled with ’21st century learning’, who want to keep the best of what are considered traditional practices.
Figure 1 – old versus new models of schooling and Learning
|Old Model||New Model|
|Reform existing schools||Create new schools|
|Larger schools||Smaller schools|
|Delivering education||Students learning|
|Read books, listen to talk||Explore the Web|
|Time-bound/place-bound||Any time/any place|
|Technology as textbook||Technology as research|
|Time is fixed||Time is variable|
|Cover material||Understand key ideas|
|Who and what||Why and how|
|Know things||Apply knowledge|
|Over-reliance on multiple – choice tests||Written/Oral demonstrations|
|Testing for accountability||Testing for understanding|
|“Make ‘em”||“Motivate ‘em”|
|Teachers serve administrators||Administrators serve teachers|
|Administrative management||Professional partnership|
|Adult interests dominate||Student interests dominate|
The second example, developed by Shaw (2009), presents windows into a supposed classroom of last century and that of a preferred C21 classroom.
Figure 2 – 20th Century Classroom versus 21st Century Classroom
|The 20th Century Classroom||The 21st Century Classroom|
|1960s typical classroom – teacher-centred, fragmented curriculum, students working in isolation, memorising facts.||An architectural firm establishes an alternative school providing internships for high school students.|
|Focus: memorisation of discrete facts||Focus: what students know, can do and are like after all the details are forgotten.|
|Lessons focus on the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension and application.||Learning is designed on upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – synthesis, analysis and evaluation.|
|Passive learning||Active learning|
|Learners work in isolation – classroom within 4 walls||Learners work collaboratively with classmates and others around the world – the Global Classroom|
|Teacher-centred: teacher is centre of attention and provider of information||Student-centred: teacher is facilitator/coach|
|Little to no student freedom||Great deal of student freedom|
|Discipline problems – educators do not trust students and vice versa. No student motivation.||No “discipline problems” – students and teachers have mutually respectful relationships as co-learners; students are highly motivated.|
|Fragmented curriculum||Integrated and interdisciplinary curriculum|
|Grades averaged||Grades based on what was learned|
|Low expectations||High expectations – “If it isn’t good it isn’t done.” We expect and ensure that all students succeed in learning at high-levels. Some may go higher – we get out of their way to let them do that.|
|Teacher is judge. No one else sees student work.||Self, peer and other assessments. Public audience, authentic assessments.|
|Curriculum/school is irrelevant and meaningless to the students.||Curriculum is connected to students’ interests, experience, talents and the real world.|
|Print is the primary vehicle of learning and assessment.||Performances, projects and multiple forms of media are used for learning and assessment.|
|Diversity in students is ignored.||Curriculum and instruction, address student diversity.|
|Literacy is the 3 Rs – reading, writing and maths.||Multiple literacies of the 21st century – aligned to living and working in a globalised new millennium.|
|Factory model, based upon the needs of employers for the Industrial Age of the 19th century. Scientific management.|
|Driven by standardised testing.|
“What we see here are two separate models suggesting that what happens in all schools and classrooms is one approach that is stuck in the past and must become the other (preferred approach) today. There is no room for a model that incorporates new approaches along with some proven practices. Instead we are presented with what is considered “in” (the “new model”) and what is now “out” (the “old model”).”
Q: Do exponents of the ‘new model’ completely have to reject the current paradigm to evolve?
Q: How is this binary to be resolved positively and our schools evolve?
*Phil’s speech opened with a quote from Niels Bohr, prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future which amusingly sums up the challenges of crystal-ball gazing.