Friday, March 11, 2011

Reinventing the way we "do" school

I love TED.com! I have to thank my husband for introducing me to this website and sharing great ideas with me.

So much of the school day is taken up by the delivery of content that not much time is left for the processing and mastery of skills and concepts. This was part of a discussion I had at an elementary school yesterday. Teachers voiced frustrations over the "amount" of content that is being added to the curriculum and with no more time in the school day teachers and students feel rushed. Learners need time to process new information before mastery can be achieved.

What does "processing time" look and sound like? It can look and sound different in every classroom, but it is vital to any successful learning environment. Students need to be discussing, debating, organizing, playing, evaluating, teaching, writing, creating, acting, collaborating and moving! This is hard to do with students when much of the time a teacher spends with his or her class is spent delivering content.

Watching this video, I had an Aha moment, because if you consider "flipping the traditional teaching script", teachers would have much more time with their students during the processing time. Teachers would have quality time to help students wrestle with important ideas. Students that need reinforcement of skills and concepts would have access to their teacher when they need it, instead of realizing they don't "get it" after school hours.

This is not meant to replace the teacher in the classroom, instead maximize what great teachers do best, making learning challenging and exciting.

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