Changing the DNA of learning and teaching

One of the major reasons why it is so difficult to change the prevailing curriculum construct and pedagogical approach is because it’s so embedded within the schooling process and has been so for the last 150 years!

Generations of students and teachers have such an industrial experience of schooling that it is part of their very DNA.  But, if we are to seriously address the need to reframe the schooling process in a knowledge age then we need to re-develop the DNA. Superficial and cosmetic changes are unsustainable and do little but raise the frustration levels of all involved.

We need substantial changes based on several key understandings:

1. the knowledge age has shaped a new generation of learners
2. there is serious literature over the last decade supporting the direction we need for new models
3. the teaching profession has to engage and provide leadership
4. more testing and more resources aren’t the single solutions
5. innovation and diversity is critical to driving change

4 thoughts on “Changing the DNA of learning and teaching

  1. One of my favourite films is the Matrix. Education is now at the point of choosing between the blue pill and the red pill: the blue pill allows us to continue with the status quo, oblivious to the possibilities of a new reality. The red pill would see us to leave behind that version of the world which no longer relevant or meaningful. Sadly, so many of the teachers I work with don’t even realise there is a choice to be made. For them, our students are fading into a world they don’t recongise or want to engage with.

    Let’s not let the kids get too far down the rabbit hole ahead of us!

  2. I’ve been listening to Dr. Yoram Harpaz recently. He makes the point that schools need to about learning that teaching, that is, the work of students should drive the constructs of the process. Too often it is the reverse;learning takes second place to how people want to shape schooling to meet their personal needs. This is not necesarily a conscious process, it’s just the wasy schooling has been one for so long.

  3. Greg E, of course the key to the Matrix is that you can’t be told about it; you have to experience it for yourself! I think that certainly in Parramatta Diocese teachers and schools are experiencing the changing paradigm driven by the new direction of the system and as momentum builds it will be the common philosophy of the many and not just the few. I think the challenge still remains that while the principles underlying the generational shift in learning enbaled by technology are being widely broadcast and supported, the schools within our state are beholden to an externally constructed curriculum that defines quite strictly the core knowledge and skills to be developed in students and monitored through external testing of that knowledge and skills and held up to scrutiny, access to funding and perceptions of efficacy based on their performnace in those metrics. Reconciling this is a task worthy of Neo!

  4. However, if we refuse toconceive of these state based curricula and tests as the ultimate goal of learning, then they are not quite as constraining. I prefer a broader vision of learning as enabling students to become responsible agents of their own development: ethical, aware, connected and cooperative. The national benchmark tests, and even the HSC can be one (inadequate) measure or milestone along the way. There is scope within NSW syllabuses for so much more. For example, problem based learning, dealing with real world situations delivered in a cross curricular way (ideal for middle school) can achieve the outcomes of many Stage 4 syllabuses – and much, much more. If we liberate students, through connective technology, to grapple deeply with these problems, they will come to the state exams and think “Gee, is that all they want?”

    (I am not so confident about Stage 6 curriculum!! I’ll call on Neo for that one…)

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