School and learning as we know it is changing, and rapidly. But we are seeing education and the way students learn completely wrong. Learning "happens around the things we learners choose to learn, not what someone else tells us to learn" ((Richardson, 2012, Kindle). How schools operate have not changed for over 150 years, yet everything else around us is changing and evolving (cars, buildings, etc.). So why should school be any different? Just because school has been the same for so long does not mean it cannot evolve like everything else in this world has. When I was in school and I wanted to learn something new, I'd sign up for piano lessons or a cooking class. Nowadays, students go to YouTube. Technology is playing a huge role in our students' lives, yet it is not encouraged, promoted or used to the great length it could be in our education system. Yes, there are some downsides to technology but everything has pros and cons, and when the pros greatly outweigh the cons, there's no reason not to utilize it and better the education that our youth is receiving. Schools are still so focused on teaching to the tests and I must tell you, not once have I said, "passing that AP Statistics formed my life today". We must let go of teaching to the tests and teach to what is going to drive and cause our youth to succeed in life after school.
As an educator, I feel I must commit to all 6 unlearning/relearning ideas of education. That being said, it doesn't mean they will all come easily...
1. Share everything (or at least something)
This comes easily and naturally. As a current student (and forever learner), I've already discovered the beauty of all the resources I have at my fingertips. And in those discoveries, I've learned to appreciate those that have shared not only their successes but their misconceptions and even their failures. I find that sharing information via technology is the same idea as being a student teacher- we are paired with a seasoned teacher that knows what they are doing, has experienced lessons that simply do not work, edited lessons for better success the next go around and has experienced far more than I have at my current state in education. Without that mentor to guide me where they have experienced issues or tried the same idea(s) that I have, I could waste so much valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere in regards to the students. The same goes for sharing - I can see what has worked for educators in their blog reflections, I can utilize great lessons that my students can benefit from and I can help others if I see something they might not. For example, I discovered BetterLesson.com and found an amazing lesson for my Algebra 2 kids. But in reviewing the lesson, I found an error that derailed the whole outcome. I was able to share the mistake that I found so that the original author could make edits and better her lesson. This will later tie into #3....
2. Discover, don't deliver, the curriculum
This is the one I believe I will struggle with the most. Mostly because of the type of person I am. I am a very organized person that likes to map out the whole journey for me, the students, parents and my faculty to see. I like to have a clear vision of where and when I will be going somewhere. I am not at all opposed to discovering the curriculum with my students, but it will definitely be hard for me. If I transform my precise lesson and unit plans to more like guidelines with flexibility, I believe I can ease into discovering the curriculum more fluidly. As I become more comfortable with the idea and procedure, I can loosen up on the ropes and let the students take more charge in the direction we will go. And this will lead into #6...
3. Talk to strangers
There are so many resources out there that let us connect with people we would otherwise never have the chance to encounter. Like I mentioned in #1: I was able to connect with an educator back east that had an absolutely wonderful lesson on systems of linear equations. That being said, I found an error that implicated the lesson. But thanks to technology, I was able to leave a comment on her lesson that informed of the error I found. Talking to strangers comes easily to me but I will have a harder time allowing my students to open up to strangers. There will have to be lots of research into who my students can connect with!
4. Be a master learner
The greatest draw of being an educator is the fact that you get to be a lifelong learner. You get to be in a class watching students learn while you are constantly learning from them. Everything is constantly evolving and changing (and rapidly!) and the ability to be in a profession where you are encouraged (and required) to always be learning is amazing. Being a master learning and seeing what is out there to help better educate my students and myself is the biggest draw of educating and definitely the unlearning/relearning that comes most easily to me.
5. Do real work for real audiences
This will be a challenge but a challenge that I will enjoy conquering. Students have a hard time connecting math to the real world and being able to work with others could have a significant impact on how they understand concepts and can develop knowledge.
6. Transfer the power
Traditionally, teachers are looked at as the "boss" of the classroom but with us wanting to have students direct their own learning, they have to pass on some of our power to them. Giving students choices or allowing them to integrate their interests into our curriculum are just a two ways I can pass some power onto my students. This will come easily to me as I love to see students take charge of their education.
Richardson, Will (2012-09-10). Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere. TED Conferences. Kindle Edition.