Richard presents the “old school” educational system as one that embraces a stand-and-deliver approach, celebrates quantifiable measurements of learning, and continues to focus on getting “better” rather than evolving into something completely different (loc 73). The need for “cookie-cutter,” assembly line occupations is no longer the primary focus of our workforce, so why should we continue to embrace a system’s obsolete skillset that doesn’t foster creative thinking? I completely agree with Richardson’s statements regarding this notion. Richardson adds that according to NCTE, our students, under the current model of Common Core (and its NCLB, CST-based predecessor), are failing to meet the established criteria for literacy; simply put, the majority of students are deemed illiterate by NCTE’s standards (loc 177-183). Educational policymakers can’t seem to get over the fact that “better” isn’t just improving the way our curriculum is delivered to students; standardized assessments are completely outmoded (loc 211). It’s great if you’re focused on students as a business commodity rather than real people.
I have always been a fan of inquiry-based learning because of the creativity and discovery it fosters. Students seem to teach me new things every time I watch them investigate a problem with various approaches. And their buy-in is immediate when they get to use their imaginations. This is what Richardson argues the “new school” educational system should evolve into. Richardson mentions that we need to promote higher level thinking and not ask questions that can be answered with a Google search (loc 316). We need to rethink pedagogy and purpose, as well as assessment so that we inspire students to fall in love with learning for a greater purpose; when that happens, there are no limits to creativity (loc 324-365). There is an abundance of resources available to students; let’s allow them all to utilize it as a means of investigating new ideas on their own accord (loc 81).
Of the six unlearning/relearning ideas for educators that Richard discusses (loc 387-530), I would say I could commit to sharing ideas, focusing on discovering curriculum through inquiry, being a master learner, doing real work for real audiences (as we’re doing with this course), as well as transferring the power to my students. I think I’d have trouble with talking to strangers, just because that’s something outside of my immediate comfort zone. I’m learning to reach out and network through sharing with audiences (I feel I’ll be networking with people in this cohort very well).
Richardson, W. (2012). Why school how education must change when learning and information are everywhere / Will Richardson. New York, NY: TED Conferences.