Teachers Struggling to Change

Here is an excerpt from an article by Jay Ashcroft. It is worth reading his entire article.

“Over the last 100 years in teaching, how much has changed? Could you take a teacher from 1915 and drop them into a modern classroom? Apart from the strange haircuts and unfamiliar clothes they’d barely notice the difference, because the majority of school is still lecture driven. The teacher stands at the front, disseminating knowledge to the students. Now undertake the same scenario but with a surgeon. Bring a surgeon forward 100 years and it’s a different story. In a modern operating room our time traveler would be overwhelmed with sights and sounds. This is because technology has revolutionized surgery.” – Jay Ashcroft

I wouldn’t trust a doctor that has not found new techniques to improve their craft in the past 30 years. Nor would I take my car to a mechanic who did not embrace the changes to automotive technology in the past 30 years.

As new technologies emerge we need to take advantage of them and see how they can help us do our job better. When we all have access to the world’s information at our fingertips, can teachers change what they do to take advantage of that? Do we really need to lecture and have students take notes? Is that really the best way to teach students today?

We know from research that students learn best when they WANT to learn. If teachers can motivate the students to want to learn then real learning and deep understanding can occur.

The same holds true for adults. We really only learn something when we WANT to learn. We need proper motivation to learn something new. Sometimes we are forced, like when the province goes to provincial report cards with certain expectations regarding comment writing.

The best learning occurs when we WANT to learn. The question is, “How can we get teachers to want to learn about teaching more effectively in today’s world?” As teachers, we believe one of the goals of education is to help students become life long learners. Are teachers modelling that behavior? Are teachers embracing new ideas or rejecting change?

Where does the motivation come from to learn something new? From inside. Not from external factors. Teachers need to WANT to learn, just like students.

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