Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Friday, August 26, 2005

The School of Now

by AJ

Got a link to this article, titled "School of the Future World Summit" from Dekita.org:

Forget the future what do students want from schools today? Taking up this question were four hyper-articulate teenagers representing www.TakingITGlobal.org, an online community that claims 75,000 student members. Although the teens hailed from different countries India, New Zealand, Uzbekistan, and the United States they shared remarkably similar visions for their ideal learning environment: one-on-one time with their teachers; the ability to manage their own learning; hands-on activities in and out of the classroom; and teachers serving as facilitators, not omniscient lecturers. Its important for us to see teachers are learning with their students, said Cherrie Kong, 19, from New Zealand. Its no longer them and us. Sound familiar?

As usual, the students are far ahead of the teachers and administrators. And forget the idea of this being the "school of tomorrow". Its the school of now. Its the hi-tech entrepreneurial workplace of now. Its the freelancing world of now.

The big points:

*Students want to manage their own learning environment. In other words, no more "teacher as big boss". But this also means, no more "student as passive slave". It means students that are more independent and powerful.... but who also take more initiative and do more on their own. It means teachers who are more flexible and more passionate... whose job is not to deliver facts but to Inflame, Inspire, Push, Pull, Persuade, Coach, and Win Over their students.

*My favorite line is, "its important to see teachers are learning with their students". What a great statement. All I can add is "Amen".

This is why I relentlessly insist that language teachers must be actively involved in learning another language. They dont have to be experts. They dont have to master a new language or even become fluent. But they must themselves display a passion for learning.

Leading from the rear just doesnt work the way it used to. People are smarter. "Do as I say, not as I do" is quickly recognized for the hypocrisy it is. The most effective way to lead is from the front. Blaze forward gloriously and dare them to come with you. Thats what inspires.

Thats what separates leaders for the ages such as Gandhi and MLK from cowardly blowhards like (draft dodging) W. Bush.

And so I think that teachers must put their ass on the line. Theyve got to show.. through their own actions.. that learning is euphoric, pleasurable, and engaging.

Dont just say it. Show it.