This blog continues on from: The world is getting flatter – Why isn’t our educational system? As a reminder, there are massive functional and communication inefficiencies. All of which are inherent in our current public educational system at the elementary and secondary levels, such as:
- Lesson preparation and delivery work activity is highly redundant and costly
- Effective communication between students, teachers and parents is woefully inadequate and consequently compromises student potential
Where we left off in the previous article: “There was a new education system where students were encouraged to take a more active approach in their learning with homework exercises. Meanwhile, teachers would take the results of these homework exercises and transform their classrooms into “working sessions.” This created a more dynamic learning system that pushed personal growth among students.
We will now show how this approach creates a less redundant approach to lesson plans. How it also creates a better quality “lesson plan”, and give parents more of a role in their child’s learning. And with that, we will hopefully change the education system into one that treats children as partners in their education. Rather than robots to accumulate knowledge. If children feel more involved, they will take greater responsibility for their education.
With This Approach, Teaching Resources Will Not Be Spent On Redundant Or Duplicative Efforts Such As Preparing And Delivering The Lesson
The supporting services will do that. A simple business case estimates we can shift an enormous set of resources from “preparation and delivery” to “creativity, facilitation and assessment.” Here is how significant a shift it is:
$63,033,390,000 = (180 days/year X 3.5 hours / days X $30/hr.) X 3,335,100 teachers
This approach we recommend will work for the vast majority of subjects and lessons. This cursory analysis assumes 2/3 of the lessons can be affected. Also that teachers deliver 5 classes/day with an average teacher salary of $30 dollars an hour sans benefits. This obviously does not include the cost of developing the alternative content. Said content should be offset by the cost avoidance benefit of not buying textbooks. Also, improving teacher productivity, remedial education, etc…
This is not arguing for a reduction in teaching resources or in their level of subject-matter expertise. This approach is arguing for:
- A reallocation of the resources away from redundant lesson preparation and delivery towards ensuring the lesson is understood.
- A role change that would place greater responsibility on the student and introduce the opportunity to customize educational delivery.
- teachers to become facilitators of learning and apply their creativity, knowledge and interpersonal skills but at a different phase of the learning cycle.
- students to be able to work with parents and other students to comprehend the lesson.
- for student centric education.
The combination of the Khan Academy and “flipped” classrooms allow us to do that. The targeted state value chain now adopts the “create and facilitate” functions in lieu of “prepare and deliver”. (See Figure 2 above) Ideally, this is implemented and provides opportunities to save human resources by increasing the number of student to teacher ratio. Then, we must reallocate these resulting resources to Early Childhood Education (ECE). Either way, as any rational individual would conclude, ECE should be a high-priority investment opportunity due to its Return on Investment (ROI) and social benefits (3).
With this synthesized approach, we can achieve a form of scalability. One that allows us to focus on the application and assessment of the student’s progress. It allows for the creativity and development of best “breed” approaches for lesson preparation and delivery. Students can progress at personalized rates using tools that conform to their learning styles.
Now, How To Get The Best “Quality” Lesson Preparation And Delivery?
We take our “best” or most impactful teachers, and they then become the lesson producers who create and deliver the content for this new model. We allow the best lessons to develop at a grass roots level. Then we let the market demand for quality establish what is effective. If we empower educators, we will find hidden gems and discover teachers who are even more creative in enhancing this new model of education. We will have tapped into a rare commodity that will enhance other teacher’s approaches. Consequently, they will engage the students with a personalized approach. Motivating and positioning teachers to out-create one another will only ensure the students are getting the quality they deserve.
Another Fundamental Deficiency Within The Current Educational System Is The Limited Role Parents Have
This effectively shields parents from the most critical part of the process – delivery. The communication model is woefully inadequate and in essence is a failed network with the child as the weakest link. (See Figure 3)
This new model allows us to “flatten” communication increase shared access to information between parents, teachers and students. A student will be more empowered and vested in their educational journey and will now be more responsible and motivated to set and reach greater educational goals. Parents and teachers will easily track and monitor the student’s goals and progress.
The approach aligns well with the rapidly developing technology trends on how our whole society is researching, discovering and learning new information. Each lesson can be the launch point for self-exploration and research on related subjects. Or, a deeper dive into existing content. Consequently, the student is no longer the weak link between parent and teacher. Also, parents will now have the option take a more proactive role. If they do, wonderful, if not, the student has the option to pursue their goals with peers or go solo. Inevitably, as the amount of information and content flow increases between the parents, students and teachers, the awareness of educational system performance and accountability will organically improve.
(See Figure 4)
Parents Are No Longer “Blind” To How Good Or Bad A Lesson Is Delivered
Parents can be active participants in educating their children using a medium that is much more natural and intuitive than a textbook. They will be able to learn for the first time or relearn, as we often have to, along with their child. They will be able to take an earlier and more pivotal role in the learning process. This is potentially the most valuable and challenging departure from the traditional model. Why is it so important? Parents will now have the option to model education and learning in addition to all other forms of social norms. Today, we have positioned parents in the background and we wonder why we do not get more school to home communication. The achievement gap will also improve as we can shift the roles of parent and student to be integral to personalizing the educational experience.
We All Know This Has To Change, But We Have Never Given The Parents The Tools To Participate Nor Have We Positioned Them Effectively In The Learning Process
We ask parents to help with homework but only after the child has had the lesson. They have no insight into how effectively it has been delivered. We ask the parent to help the frustrated child when the parent has no idea how the lesson is structured or if they are contradicting what has been stated. Bridging the learning process between educators and family is transformational and the best means to ensure lifelong learners and an educated society.
We Will Accelerate The Transformation From The “Teacher-centered Pedantic Model” To A “Student-Centered Responsibility Model”
Teachers will fulfill the challenging role of content creation, facilitation and assessment. If it takes the student 10 viewings to understand the lesson, they can now do that without systematic or peer pressure. The student may do the lesson by themselves, with their family or with their peers. They can and should discuss it on social networks or in their friend’s basement. This encourages the discussion of educational topics and the growth of educational communities. Let’s destroy this anti-intellectual notion that we only learn in school and that it is best to learn by oneself.
Extending lessons delivery beyond the classroom, allows the student freedom to collaborate and explore the best means to meet the lessons ends within a less restrictive timeframe. Students could even share a computer and learn lessons together. Why not? Learning with peers has proven to one of the more effective means for intellectual, social and emotional growth. We should encourage and train students to learn collaboratively. Why would we want to constrain lessons and learning to a teacher-centric classroom? This is certainly not what will be expected of them in the workplace or in their personal lives. The world is flattening, why not the educational system and the classrooms?
This Marketplace Would Allow Teachers To Develop A Stronger And More Creative Voice, To Be The Principal Producers Of Lessons And Content That Speaks Directly To The Primary Stakeholders – The Students
Teachers are the ones who get to see and assess what is working every day. This will allow them to build, evolve and ensure its impact. It will restore educators to a position of honor and respect. Give a voice to students who undoubtedly will let the system know when it is not working. And it will build a smart system that feeds and learns from itself and in the process let the model flatten.
If We Do This With A National Commitment, We Will Quickly Rediscover The Fact That Children Are Not “Robots”
Students are much more capable of learning and taking initiative than we have come to expect from them. They need to know they are the principal stakeholders in their educational pursuit. Given the chance they will take an active role in the structuring their educational destiny from the outset in collaboration with parents, teachers, friends and peers. We just need to show a little faith in them.
(1) National Center on Educational Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84
(2) ASCD September 2009, Volume 15, Number 3, Highly Effective Teachers: Defining Rewarding, Supporting and Expanding their Roles. Laura Varlas
(3) The Economics of Inequality – The Value of Early Childhood Education James Heckman, American Educator Spring 2011http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/spring2011/Heckman.pdf