Some Things No Longer Tenable in Education

As we return to “normal,” teachers will be building classrooms in which teaching and learning happens in both physical places and online spaces.  Until now, most educators have perceived clear boundaries between online teaching and face-to-face teaching. That separation is no longer tenable. 

For decades, educators have heard “the jobs your students will have do not exist yet.” Until recently that has not been true; as we look into and through the third decade of the 21st century, I suspect “this time it is different.” The technological changes that have motivated these observations are gaining momentum and they will play an important role in shaping society after the pandemic and with a renewed focus on ensuring opportunity for all. They will be creating classrooms based on a reconceptualization of teaching and learning. My teachers knew the skills I would need for my future, but no one knows the skills and knowledge necessary for the unpredictable future. For curriculum leaders to act like they do is no longer tenable.  

Learning happens when teachers and students form positive relationships. Learning happens when students engage with their peers to understand the information and ideas that are in a rich curriculum. Learning happens when students demonstrate their what they know and teachers give them feedback on their performances. Notice this paragraph on learning includes no mention of information. While information is the basis of the changes we seek to observe in students, teaching is not about transferring information into their brains. If it were that simple, we would have perfected it long ago. Teachers will be creating classrooms in which learning has been reconceptualized and that will necessitate a reconceptualization of teaching as well. To avoid this is no longer tenable.