Constructivism in the Classroom
As I read the article assigned for this week I grew more and more discouraged. It seems like an insurmountable task to recreate all of my lesson plans into "student-centered" learning experiences. What school actually has the technology resources to make the things in this article a reality? We certainly don't. We are lucky to get into the Internet lab once or twice a term, and then it has to be on their schedule, not mine. That is completely contrary to the suggestion of the article that "teachers allow student responses to drive lessons, shift instructional strategies and alter content." I am not even sure that I agree that that is such a great idea. I do want my students to be engaged in the content, but if I only taught what they are interested in, many of the important ideas, skills, and concepts that they need to know would NEVER see the light of day. I guess I just do not buy into the idea that the "old" way is so terrible. Again, I am struck by the irony of the authors, who obviously excelled under the current, archaic educational system, suggesting that it is a failure and something that must be replaced. I was reminded of Vince's comments about the amount of money to be made by declaring that education must be reformed. I found the argument that teachers must realize that "their view of teaching is based on an educational model that has been around since the dawn of the industrial age" and therefore MUST be discarded to be insulting in its logic-free conclusion. Just because something is old, that does not mean it is necessarily bad. And just because something is new, we cannot assume that it is necessarily better. It reminded me of the spurious advertising ploys that I teach my sophomores. Always beware of claims that something is "New and Improved." I am actually excited about integrating some of the cool new technological methods into my classroom, but the example in the article is so far beyond what I ever see myself doing as to be fantasy. I feel pretty sure that I am a dinosaur…. and we know what happened to them.