The 2013 (co)lab Collaborative Leadership Summit brought forward some challenging topics, and perhaps none that inspired more passionate and animated presentations than educational reform.
This week, we reflect on the messages of Diana Laufenberg, Will Richardson and Rinat Aruh. Although each of them spoke to a different perspective, they all agree that we can do better — MUCH better — to inspire far greater creativity and innovation in our classrooms.
The problem, argues Laufenberg, is embedded in the standardized curriculum, and incentive systems that drive educators to teach TO the test. What this fosters is a model of control and compliance: students learn exactly what is in the plan – no less, and (definitely) no more! This is hardly the breeding ground for creativity and expression. We need to adopt a new philosophy of teaching BEYOND the test, pushing student inquiry and exploration beyond the reach of the traditional lesson plan.
Richardson agrees. His concern is that our curriculum is based on a model of the world as it WAS. What we need is a model based on the world as it IS. Think about today’s world — ubiquitous and limitless access to information and inspiration. Now think about today’s classrooms — does this sound anything like the environment in our schools today? If we’re going to prepare our children to live and flourish in the real world, we going to have to make some revolutionary changes in our instructional environment.
And while we’re working on a better model, Aruh points out that there are simple ideas that can help our current model deliver better outcomes. By teaching design in the classroom — not as a subject, but as a manner of instruction — we can inspire and reveal creativity and innovation that exists in our students. Without a creative outlet, such as design-based instruction, our current system of teaching constrains that vital link to creativity, collaboration and innovation. It begins early — and continues as these young minds grow.
So, do we want to perpetuate the current educational “command and control” model, or is time for a change? Watch these videos, then answer this question for yourself: Do we need a revolution in learning, or a learning revolution?