The Changing Face of the Classroom

Our School systems are built upon ideas from another century. Yet, it still remains in large part in-tact within our education system. Originally built to teach Christianity and instill obedience, and historically for assimilation into dominant culture as in the case of the Residential School system here in Canada.
In our 21st Century, we now have increased recognition and understanding of First Nations, Metis & Inuit Cultures, poverty, knowledge of special needs, boys and literacy scores, and rapid advancements in technology, just to name a few.
We have some amazing educators trying to hone their practice, infuse new ideas and best practices into our Education systems, increasing knowledge of digital literacy, media literacy, and digital citizenship for students, learning about emerging BYOD initiatives, integrating knowledge of special needs, implementing ideas from Bridges out of Poverty, and infusing First Nations Metis & Inuit Pedagogy and Knowledge across the curriculum.
However, our system of Schooling remains the same. Scheduled bells that dictate when a student will learn what piece of content, fixed timetables and spaces that dictate when a student will learn, move and eat; line ups, rewards for good behaviour, standardized tests that promote teaching to the test throughout the school year, Special Education funding based on diagnoses versus need, thus promoting a system promoting diagnoses for funding and jobs in schools. No room for cultural knowledge and sharing, and yes, thousands of hours of hardwired schooling experience that makes it difficult for even the best of us to understand how to step outside of the traditional schooling box to help our students.
More and more of what we want to do to create meaningful change is hindered by our current school structures. We can use the example that many schools are purchasing sets of tablets and handheld devices for student use within the classrooms. However, it is important to note that Steve jobs originally intended the iPad to be a ‘lean-back’ technology… basically meant to be used while relaxing back in a chair.
And because tablets have so many possibilities for creating and integrating and infusing knowledge and understanding together for students, what will this mean for our students when they still work at traditional desks, with traditional chairs, and traditional bells that tell us when our learning for a particular subject is done.
Our world is changing; education is changing. We now have the ability to understand how our systems have embedded prejudice and racism. But our schools and traditional schooling systems appear to be continuing the legacy of what they were originally built for.


Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.






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