During the COVID pandemic, schools and teachers scrambled to find new ways of learning. Both educators and students got used to online courses and learning pods. Now, some of the long-time assumptions about learning are being questioned.
Of course, finding different ways for students to learn isn’t a concept born amid the pandemic. Instead, Adobe Education Exchange has already introduced creative teaching resources. Further, online schools were already established before COVID.
However, many educators deem these as one-off ideas that don’t threaten their current teaching styles. This doesn’t mean there’s no hope to disrupt present methods.
The most important factor in an overhaul of learning is to engage students. There’s an iconic scene in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” that shows how students react to a dry economics presentation by an instructor. In reality, this example of telling can’t be seen in classrooms across the U.S.
Learning spaces need to inspire imagination. At the same time, this is done at the earliest levels, preschool to first grade, the ability to engage students decreases. Instead of concepts behind new ideas and troubleshooting, students are locked into a succession of pre-college courses and standardized tests.
This goes beyond the physical classroom. For example, students struggled to remain engaged in online courses during pandemic-based school closures. Not only was imagination removed, but students were taught via videos.
Achievement Versus Engagement
One way to disrupt education for a better experience is to separate achievement and engagement. The former’s goal is to perform something successfully, The latter establishes degrees of attention, curiosity, and passion students show as they learn.
Educators ask their students to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) to move to the next class or grade. While they may achieve a high score, they don’t have any passion for getting there. Instead, the achievement was to move forward.
Educators need to consider what’s required to disrupt education and get their students to listen. In the end, they should be hungry to learn more about a topic. To become proper citizens in this global economy, they must be willing to ask questions to quench their curiosity.
This doesn’t have to happen just in the classroom. They need to step outside to understand the world around them. This includes visits to natural and commercial areas. Knowing more about these environments while in school helps them become more imaginative in the adult world.
It’s time for educators to take a good look at what they do and how their students fare. Are they learning or achieving the basics? Are classes engaged in curiosity and debate or asleep during a lecture?
In the end, we can no longer look to the past for our solutions. Instead, we need to move forward to explore what the world has in store.