Wednesday, November 17, 2004

the following is from a TLN conversation:

Helping Students Keep Pace with a Changing World
Bill posed this question to TLN members:
Have you ever thought about the idea that 'the world is changing -- schools are not?' What are some things that we could do right now to bring schools up to pace with the changing world?
For Cossondra, a math and technology teacher, the answer is "teaching students creative problem-solving."
* * * * *
My big thing for changing schools to keep up the pace with the changing world: TECHNOLOGY -- using computers to teach curriculum through inquiry. Too often we give our students assignments with one right answer, one possible solution, and expect/demand they all produce the same end result.
If you worked for an advertising agency, and all groups produced the same proposal, how impressed would your client be?
If you are an architect, and all your building designs look exactly like everyone else's, how long will you be successful?
Employers want employees who can work and think independently and creatively to solve problems, create solutions, make good decisions. Yet today’s education system (read "state/standardized testing") pushes us to produce cookie cutter duplicates, all standing straight in a row, with the same pasted-on smile, all facing the same direction, all saying the exact same answer in the same exact monotone voice, filling in the same circle with the same pencil at the same pace.
We need to break that mold and teach our students to think for themselves -- to be creative, productive, responsible contributing members of a larger society. We need to be able to be flexible in our curriculum and our pedagogy. We need to teach kids to do things that cannot be measured on a standardized test.
Is this our fault as teachers/educators?? Not necessarily -- we are often bound by higher powers which we have little or no control over. But we need to make our voices heard.

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