I was amazed at how fast an hour goes when I did the interview on the ABC’s Conversation Hour. I have been thinking about what I said and the questions asked. One thing really stands out for me. There is a strongly held perception that these new ways of thinking about schooling are less demanding than in the past. I was asked directly about what the kids would learn and that surely there are certain things that all students must know. Somehow there is a fear that personalising learning, giving greater control to the student and using diverse methods of teaching will lead to students not having a “real education”.
How do you explain to people that creativity is as important as teaching literacy if young people are to make a difference in their world?
This is so far from the truth that it defies logic. This approach to schooling is extremely demanding and rigourous on both the teacher and the learner. At every stage of the schooling process the student and learner have to be constantly engaged in an interactive process that builds on itself and stretches and challenges them. Each interaction is unique of itself and therefore a new experience. The teacher has to see every engagement as a different learning opportunity. No more repeating of the same lesson in the same way until the student gets it. The student has to take responsibility for his or her learning and become active participants in the process not passive recipients of information. Teachers have to continually craft and recraft for the individual, not the group. This places enormous presures on them in terms of time and oportunities for professional growth. This is often made more difficult when the process is squeezed into a traditional curriculum model.
It is hard to get this point across. Teaching in today’ s world is more demanding than it has ever been. Good teachers know that but also know it is well worth the effort. I think that Sir Ken Robinson had something challenging to say about this when he spoke at the T.E.D. conference in 2006. Every educator should bookmark this site.