traditional classroom

The traditional classroom works so why change it?

Just because the traditional classroom “works” doesn’t mean that it has reached a peak or an optimal level of effectiveness.

Redesign and continual improvement

Each of these changes increased complexity for the designers and mechanics, yet produced a better experience for the user. In some cases, the specialist knowledge and equipment needed to maintain these motors resulted in those who didn’t want to change exiting the industry. For example, there are fewer job prospects for a carburetor specialist now than there were fifty years ago.

Each improvement was also not just a “bolt on” solution. Each meant that other aspects of the engine had to be changed and redesigned. However, would anyone really want to go back to using less efficient, noisier, more polluting engines from our past?

These changes also didn’t “just happen”. They took time, effort, research and refining of ideas; but they were worthwhile and made each iteration of the motor more effective. Thus, the modern car engine looks similar in some ways to that of the Model T, but significant fundamental design changes have occurred.

Boat design now is different than in the era of the Titanic, and most watches are now designed differently to the original analogue Swiss watches.

It is difficult to find an industry that is not changing to provide a better service to clients. Change and improvements are all around us, in virtually every facet of life.

Yet, we see similar levels of improvement in education. It is unlikely that education is the one area of life that has already “peaked” and that doesn’t need to change; that lessons consisting of a large percentage of direct instruction, with possibly some minor “add-ons” and minimal leveraging of technology, is the optimal solution?

A call for faster modernization of education

Education is going to change and improve, like every other industry, and technology will be a foundation of this change. In many schools “traditional” teaching approaches, based on a large percentage of direct instruction, are still the norm. Computers and data projectors may have been added to the classroom, but more work needs to be done to make them and other technologies a more integrated and effective part of the teaching and learning process. The classrooms of 2017 need to take advantage of the enhancements that technology can provide while retaining the best “human” elements of the traditional classroom.

Creating this change takes leadership, empathy, deep knowledge of many areas, commitment, long-term vision, consistency and much more. It cannot be done by a few “lone innovators” and the “bolting on” of some aspects of technology.

Yes…the traditional classroom “works”. VHS video recorders also work, as do fax machines, CRT televisions, pagers, cassette players, sets of physical encyclopedias, plows drawn by oxen, etc.

However, we have not reached the peak of education. It is time for more of our leaders to rise to the task of guiding deep, rich organization wide transformation to enhance learning. It is already 2017. Our students deserve the modernization of education sooner rather than later, and teachers need support in making the changes!

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