Thursday, May 5, 2016

Change Hurts

I began this blog with the fundamental belief that education needed change and that the best way to create meaningful change was to apply what was known about how humans learn to the practice of education.  This all was begun with full recognition that humans don't like to change.  According to Daniel Willingham, we're not even built for change.  We're built to act primarily by habit.

Change in education is formidable.  We teach, in large part, the way we were taught.  There's a huge infrastructure which supports that as well.  University professors who teach pre-service teachers and consult on textbooks are invested in a system in which they were trained a quarter-century ago.  Teachers who have taught for a quarter-century are heavily invested in doing what they have done for most of their careers.  Junior teachers, even if they've been influenced by current research, are mentored by the old guard.  The apprentice system worked great for centuries, but I'm not so sure it's the best model for training those who educate children in the information age.

Daniel Willingham tells us that to be recognized as intelligent, capable, and creative, children need background knowledge that is "...a mile wide and an inch deep...," but we fail to do that.  Reading, lots of reading, is Willingham's primary nominee for providing that background knowledge.  Most classrooms "don't have time" for reading though.  The teacher's too busy teaching.  I believe it was Harry Wong who said that when you walk into a classroom, you can tell who's doing the learning by seeing who's doing the most work.  If the teacher's teaching, it's likely that student growth is minimal.  I'm still convinced that change will come when teachers teach less and student work more.

No comments:

Post a Comment