It’s time to change our learning model


From redesigning structures to transforming learning models, fearless educators are leading the way

These efforts may result in a new schoolwide vision embraced by the overall community that includes a holistic view of what student success looks like and how it will be achieved. Achieving this milestone can lay a powerful foundation for enduring, transformative change.

But then begins the next step: taking the leap in turning bold ideas into a schoolwide reality. And it’s here that educators are showing that the broad array of skills they’ve developed in the classroom have applicability far beyond it.

Some take it upon themselves to design fundamentally different learning models for their students. If they believe technology can aid in achieving their vision, they’ll look for tools and products that best integrate into their vision for how they want learning to happen.

Others will explore the adoption of holistically designed learning models that academically and operationally integrate multiple approaches to learning and include custom daily student schedules. They’ll carefully review the design tenets upon which it was developed, go on site visits, speak with participating teachers, and begin to shape how a new model can be incorporated into their overall vision for their school.

For some, the change will be too daunting and the exploration will end without much beyond. But for the most pioneering educators, the energy around designing and implementing a new approach to learning can be invigorating and provide the energy required to work through the inevitable challenges that stand between idea and execution.

These educators believe that new approaches to learning can be game-changing for their students. They fully recognize the limitations any teacher has in meeting the unique needs of each student and take great professional satisfaction in seeing their students advance and take ownership over their own learning.

They also see the benefits to them as professionals, as they see new roles for educators that are far more collaborative and less isolating than the current role. They’re able to spend less time on administrative details and more on the quality of instruction, diagnosing misconceptions, and building meaningful relationships with their students.

Becoming an educator requires great courage. Leading a classroom of students each day requires talent, hard work, and a fearlessness to be successful. It was a tall order when I was a teacher, and I’m not sure that’s changed.

But what has changed is our capacity to design and implement a fundamentally different classroom—one that’s designed to meet the unique needs of each student each day. The technological advances we’ve seen over the last 25 years provide the opportunity to turn the page on the factory-model classroom in ways that can endure for generations.

If we’re ever going to fully take advantage of these new capacities, it will be because of the courage and resilience of the most fearless of teachers who squarely the confront the limits of the current classroom model, see the potential of new and better ways, and lead the charge to get there.

They are the ones laying our nation’s foundation for the classroom of tomorrow.

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