"I'm from the old school" is a phrase I hear from time to time as a response to the wave of change arriving at our educational doorstep. Here's my view of the old school. It prepared students for jobs where someone told them exactly what to do. It prepared them for jobs that are now disappearing due to outsourcing overseas or more efficient software. For example, if you make a reservation at a hotel or on a flight, do you really need to talk to a person or can you do it online?
Despite this reality, schools continue to churn out students who are stuck looking for 20th century jobs. Every year, millions are trained to do 1955 labor. Teachers giving students the way to solve problems instead of allowing students to search and create.
Currently, we have a mass production model of education. Sir Ken Robinson compares it to the fast food industry. Everything is standardized creating a single processed type of education - think old school. He argues we need a more fine dining, Zagat's rating, type of system where individual strengths can be maximized. Yes you can have it your way. Allow collaboration, conversation and creativity. Students participate and teachers become facilitators.
Until we personalize education and require each student to learn, until we create ways to ensure this learning occurs, we will continue wallowing in the past depriving our students of their potential.