I hope that the future of education is flexibility, interactivity, and individualized learning. There are many different learning styles and your learning style may be dependent on the topic you are learning. With all of the distractions and inputs our children get all day everyday from a very young age, our schools will need to find interesting ways to present information and rotate through those methods as needed(flexibility). Schools will also need to be flexible in how they interact with kids. Some topics need to be a sit-down and listen sort of learning. But most topics would benefit from a more hands-on approach that allow kids to experiment with inputs and outputs. And finally, we need education to be individualized to the needs of the student. That sounds overwhelming but I think we can develop a standard ongoing assessment of a student’s needs. We are developing individualized medicine, we should do the same for education.
I think that we ask a lot (too much?) of our teachers today but I think that we will be asking even more of them in the future. Maybe we need to rethink how teachers are used. Does there need to be a teacher in charge of a classroom? I don’t know the answer but just to throw out an idea to illustrate my thought: maybe you have a team of teachers with each one leading “Learning Stations” for a smaller group of kids that rotate through. Perhaps having a supervising teacher to manage the classroom and technical teachers presenting specific lessons would be more productive. Asking a teacher to a) manage a classroom, b) assess the educational need and progress of 30 (or more) students, c)be an expert on a wide range of topics, d)be current with teaching skills and trends, and e) present information in a way that the maximum number of students in the classroom will benefit may be too much.
Likewise, schools need to re-assess the impact of the school calendar and daily schedules on parents and guardians. Businesses and schools have very different calendars and schedules and often have very conflicting requirements on the parents. I think that this reassessment needs to be held in conjunction with a discussion with the broader community. Can the physical school also be a community center for school-aged children that allows a safe place for children to spend time between the time that the school day ends and when parents can pick them off after work? What is the best way for parents/guardians to be involved with the school that takes into account everyone’s needs and abilities?
I totally didn’t mean to write that much but the topic really got my mind racing.