Education is a farce. Ask me how I know.
Well, I was a teacher for more than 20 years and still consider myself one.
But I’m not a traditional teacher. I have other ideas.
That’s how I know.
What is a teacher?
Let’s define the word teacher so that we’re on the same page.
One definition is an instructor.
Okay, so what’s an instructor?
An instructor is…..someone who teaches. But of course. Wait…what?
Further digging yields, “to give knowledge; to provide with authoritative information or advice; to give an order or command”.
There’s your problem.
Teachers used to provide students with knowledge. Knowledge that was not readily obtainable was disseminated throughout the classroom and community via a knowledge vessel to others. Teachers were the authorities on knowledge in a classroom and boy did they give commands. Teachers were well-respected because they had answers no one else presumably did and spread their knowledge to ignorant little children who would grow up to hopefully do the same.
That has all changed.
Along comes the internet.
Disseminating knowledge is no longer necessary. Almost everyone has access to all of the information they could possibly desire.
Would you like to be an expert? An authority? Study. Google. Email an expert and ask him a question. Watch a video and Tweet it to your friends. Pass along the knowledge enough and you become an expert.
You used to have to attend school & attend college to learn. To be an expert meant limited access for the select few.
Now there are so many more options.
But, wait. We have this established historical fixture of a bureaucracy with enormous buildings, respected administrations, “highly qualified” teachers, and organized structure. It took an enormous time period to build it into the superpower education has become. What do we do with it?
You must be crazy to think about throwing it all away. Nope; not really.
It’s not working.
Learning has been transformed. Technology, adaptive environments, alternatives to traditional schooling, personal expectations, financial considerations, a new job environment….they have changed everything.
All education needs is a good kick.
More and more education is asking to be rebuilt. From the ground up.
This time, let’s ask our customers– the children & the parents what they want for their own learning. Let’s ask the teachers how they can deliver it and what supports they need to rebuild, re-energize, revitalize the love of learning.
It means getting messy. It means no more hierarchy and authority. It means equal access to everyone. It means individuality and it means choice.
Would we really consider overhauling the entire system of learning?
That would mean breaking apart the bureaucracy and its hierarchal organization. That would mean redesigning learning spaces and flexible time systems, re-organizing what it means to be “in charge” and the entire structure of schooling.
Most importantly, it would mean admitting that teaching is a farce. Right now the “change” in education is called teach traditionally like we did in the past with technology and ideas from the future. Education is not changing. It’s adding. It’s time to take away what’s not working.
Teachers would become what they truly should be in schooling- facilitators, mentors, & guides.
Education would morph into its true calling- supporting instruction, facilitating learning, mentoring learners with guidance from experts in the field, and guiding students to discover and utilize resources.
It would mean many years of uncomfortableness as learning falls short. Change. Big changes.
It would mean redefining learning and what it means to individuals. It would mean bye-bye to standardized testing and instead developing alternative individualized assessments. (Don’t panic: They’re already out there.)
What’s stopping us? I’m ready.