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Parmeet Shah

Marathon Nextgen Realty Ltd.

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Where to find cutting edge teaching and learning methodologies?

Schools, classrooms and methodologies have not changed much in the last few decades whereas our world has changed dramatically. I come from Mumbai, India and even the most prestigious high school sin my country follow the traditional paradigm where students spend 6+ hours everyday in the instructional lecturing mode.

The lecturing methodology, I believe, is failing miserably and is no longer relevant. First, every student is different and it is so difficult to address an entire class of 30 or even worse 50 assuming they are all on the same 'wavelength'. Second, lecturing is just plain boring. Hardly anyone pays attention. Third, lecturing may be the worst possible way to impart information. While some of the conceptual stuff may require instructional lecturing, students of today have the entire world of information available at their fingertips on their smartphones (which we inexplicably ban from schools).

My question is, what is your vision of tomorrow's education system? Also, is there anything out there already that you would recommend?

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  • Nov 5 2012: Salman Khan of Khan Academy fame discusses in his TED talk about "inverting the classroom" - students watch the pre-recorded lecture on video on their own time where the student can repeat portions not understood. The classroom is where students work problems and are helped by the teacher as needed. The Khan Academy site lets each student go at his or her own pace, and keeps track of progress.

    Many or most core topics could be learned individually on computers, allowing the arts (music, drawing/painting, drama, dance) to be taught experientially in the social construct of school.

    More and more schooling and learning systems are online, and many are free on the Internet. There is very little a motivated student can't learn, and at little or no cost other than the time investment. Here's an amazing collection of free learning sites:
  • Nov 5 2012: I don't believe one can find cutting edge teaching or methodologies. I believe we can find better ways. Adapting, adjusting, feeling, going/keeping up with the flow of available resources, technology etc. If the laptop is the 'teacher' then it contains the lessons and the tools that are there to get the message across - we design this. We also design the skills a teacher needs. This is where we could go back to the drawing board and take a look at the bigger picture of what teaching really is about TODAY. A forum for discussion, bringing in all levels of teaching, looking at failure & success. bringing feedback from this back to the governing schooling boards & asking THEM to open their minds to ideas, changes etc. Flexibility & wilingness to try something different is a condition.
  • Oct 29 2012: Start where you are at! As in approach school with ideas for CHANGE. Join a Parent and Carer committee to share ideas of how things can change. Start up extra classes in arts, dance, drama or whatever is "missing". Start small, for example by introducing Mindfulness practice, each day starts with a meditation, yoga session once a week, group discussions.
    Yes some things need to be "taught" but we can play with how this is done. Drama is a wonderful learning medium for this....ask the school, if they don't have drama whether they could try 2 terms of it with an experienced teacher. Sometimes old traditionalists just need to "see" the new models in practice to start believing things can be done differently.
    I remember the change from rows of desks and chairs to small group work set on round tables! I'd love to see way more practical projects happening in school that combine subjects together, holistically rather than separately...Steiner schools go part way towards this, Montessori schools too but different again.....I believe there is no one way...but the way is open for us to create.....be adventurous....avoid long discussions and debates...try, test, challenge, experiment...learning happens all the time.....focus on inspiring, and for me most importantly..ask the young people, what they need too!!
  • Oct 27 2012: www.cefa.ca - based on brain development research
  • Oct 17 2012: I would recommend coming to a small public school in Montana, USA. Not only do we require music and art in all grade levels k-8 but we also require dance. Every week each grade participates in a dance class that combines academic content with fundamental dance elements. For most students this class is the highlight of their week and for many students it is their time to finally excel in school. Our middle school also offers drama and dance as an elective, which is almost as rare as elementary dance class.
  • Oct 7 2012: The military uses programmed learning, and I can't see why schools aren't more receptive.
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    Oct 6 2012: Classroom pedagogy has changed dramatically in the last twenty years in the United States and there is a terrific amount of high quality material on best pedagogical practices. Some you might look for first are Bransford's How Children Learn or the Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. These sources will provide not only examples of sound pedagogy and the theoretical support for them but also empirical evidence and links to the research. Key words to look up in education data bases are "constructivism" and "discourse."
  • Oct 6 2012: The problem is not the fact that people sit in the classroom for a long time. The issue is: How is the classroom adapted to the demands of a 21st century learner?
    A teacher has to do his or her job of teaching (and so the fact that some students see the class as a boring place is just not an excuse for not learning). Education is meant to be fun; but not fun in the manner of a U2 concert or a Bollywood film.
    What a teacher can do, if he or she is allowed by the education authorities, is to include additional learning aids like videos; websites and TED talks.
    The fact that students have smartphones does not mean they would have the discipline to use it as a means of learning. Most of the time, students are on the social networks, or on the website about fashion and pop culture trends, or even watching porn!

    So,yes, learners should be instructed with audio-visuals; documentaries, TED talks; additional learning aids should be used to complement the lectures.