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Future School: A paradigm shift toward student centered learning


thinkers_cartoon-280x300Welcome to the first of many articles about all things relating to Priory academics. Come back from week to week or subscribe to my blog to receive updates when I post them. We’ll also be cross-posting these articles via our Facebook wall.

2013 is a fascinating time to be working in education.  We must, as educators, hang on firmly to the core ethos of our schools while also accepting that the mechanics of education are undergoing a radical shift.

Our country’s 100-year-old tradition for educating kids is slowly but surely coming apart at the seams. We are witnessing the death throes of an educational system modeled on Henry Ford’s efficiency-minded factory and put into place on a grand scale over the last century.  In that construct, students were almost seen as widgets moving down an assembly line, with various content specialists stamping their own, often unrelated, pieces onto the finished product.  The unspoken hope was that the students would somehow be able to synthesize many years of information into some coherent whole.

Now that system is dissolving and the timing is perfect.  We’ve begun to acknowledge that, through the old way of doing things, we’ve inculturated traits in our students that do not serve them well: right answer addiction, intellectual risk aversion, compulsive busyness, and lack of real resilience in the face of sticky problems. It’s time for a change.

Pat Bassett, the very talented former President of the National Association of Independent Schools, took a pretty good shot at articulating what children need from schools in the 21st century. Part of his thinking is encapsulated here below. The ideas provide a starting place for a substantive conversation. I hope you find them as thought provoking as I did.  His premise is that schools need to move from:

*      Knowing to Doing
*      Teacher Centered Pedagogy to Student Centered Learning
*      The Individual to The Team
*      Consumption of Information to Construction of Meaning
*      Schools to Networks
*      Single Sourcing to Crowd Sourcing
*      High Stakes Testing to High Value Demonstrations/Digital Portfolios
*      From simple content outcomes to backwards planning for character, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, cosmopolitanism

In the coming months, I look forward to exploring and reflecting upon this heartening evolution with you.




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