So, in order to recreate the idea of the classroom, one with no corridors or discrete physical boundaries that restrict freedom of learning and creativity, Le argues that we must first look at the issue as a cultural project and not an architectural one. Like the teachings of Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, the issue is not necessarily with the physical classroom; it’s with embracing the blending of a structured learning environment with an emerging culture of change. This also reiterates what Will Richardson emphasizes in embracing the world of abundance. Richardson argues that measurement-based learning is biased toward a narrowed group of students. With such a model, we standardize learning, and how is that effective in a world that is constantly changing? How does that prepare our youth to be future ready? To put it bluntly, Le states that we have “institutionalized” the idea of a classroom and learning for the past 200 years. This outdated classroom model is fighting the core of all school mission statements to foster critical thinking while also focusing on character development.
An amazing story that Le references is a conversation between Tony Wagner and Thomas Friedman, two advocates for education reform in emerging world. Le specifically mentions Wagner’s frustration of being a translator for the hostile “tribes” of the education and business worlds. Shouldn’t the two worlds just abandon their stable, mechanistic approaches to progress and adopt the emerging, unstable, ever-changing world of innovation? As Le argues, the real problem is the understanding of a third “tribe,” that being transformation. Le provides a perfect formula for transformation to be universally understood: empowerment + self-organization + emergence, powered by technology, leads to transformation. I couldn’t have come up with a better description.
Le continues to discuss the future state of education as being incredibly dynamic, connected, global and cultural, connected by technology. When we as teachers challenge our students, we need to facilitate the transition from “how” questions to “why” questions, so that students are forced to think and innovate. To truly create.
Like Le, I’ll close with the quote that answers the essential objective of restructuring education today: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
The Future of Learning: Trung Le at TEDxNYED. (2013 June 11). Retrieved from https://goo.gl/lwSbUA