An Open Letter to Educators
After reading Morgan Bayda's blog post and watching Dan Brown's video I can really see where they are coming from with regards to their beliefs of our educational system. Both Morgan and Dan believe that something needs to change in our way of teaching if we expect to prepare our students for today's world. We are stuck in a way of teaching that only presents facts and asks students to regurgitate them. This is not the way to learn.
In Morgan's blog post she compares two classes that she took at her university in Canada. The first type of class Morgan talked about was the typical lecture class in which you sit listening to the professor talk and are not encouraged to participate at all. She says that these classes are hard to stay awake through, much less stay focused on. What does this mean? Is there any real learning going on? Answer: probably not! We can get the same information presented by the professor from the book or internet (and probably with a lot less errors!). The second class Morgan talked about was her computer class. In this class the students were encouraged to collaborate with one another, as well as other sources through their PLN. This type of teaching promotes learning by forcing the student to take initiative and seek out information for themselves. I believe Morgan is trying to say that more of our classes should be taught this way if we expect our students to succeed in today's society, and I agree with her.
In the video Morgan included with her blog post, Dan Brown talks about his problems with our educational system and his decision to drop out of college. Dan talks about the transition of the availability of knowledge over time. He starts with monarchies, in which only a select few people had the opportunity to seek information. He then moves through time and shows how much easier it has become to seek out this information. In today's society if you can afford to go to college you have access to this information, if you can't afford it too bad. This is slowly changing. With the amount of information available through the internet, anyone who can access websites can find nearly all of the information available in the universities. Dan Brown believes that the educational system needs to be changed to reflect this ease of accessing information. Dan also discussed how he sat through the same type of classes as Morgan and did not learn anything he could not find on his own. This is what made him decide to drop out of school: his education was interfering with his learning!
Will all students some day reach this decision? The sad truth is that this may become a reality if our way of teaching does not change. In a world that is constantly changing, education should not be any different. We have had the same system for far too long and something needs to be done. We have all sat in those classrooms where we are asked to simply regurgitate information and we know that this is not the best way to learn. The change starts with us and we must all be ready!
Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home
This was quite an interesting blog post. When I first saw the name I had to laugh a little. While the post is humorous, it does have a really good point. Instead of blaming lower test scores on students "taking home pencils", we should be focused on the way we teach them. If students are not performing up to par, maybe we should reevaluate the way we are teaching them. I liked how Tom refused to argue over whether students should take the pencils home. He simply gave facts as to what he believed caused the lower test scores and how he planned on changing them. This is a much better approach to problem solving. I really enjoyed reading this post!