November 9, 2016

 I would maintain that, regardless of subject matter, education is very late in “coming to the party.”

It’s no secret that most teaching in the classroom continues to be a “lecture/reading/testing” regimen — in spite of the undeniable fact that the learning culture of our young people is centered on their smartphones, tablets, and gaming.

Most people are multi-sensory learners when it comes to skills acquisition.    ‘Seeing’, ‘hearing’, and ‘doing’ – in combination – has always been the best way.

To underscore that point, here’s a quote from an article, “What is learning, exactly?” by Valerie Strauss that appeared in THE WASHINGTON POST:

“.  .  . On a philosophical level, however, many educators question whether the textbook approach is the best one for student learning. That time-honored custom is based on the assumption that everything students need to know is contained in textbooks, and learning is merely a matter of reading them, understanding, and remembering. Even if that were so, research has shown that textbook approach produces mostly short-term remembering. That is, students do well on tests immediately following textbook study or review, but in the long run they forget much of what their teachers thought they had learned.

 A more significant objection to the textbook approach, however, is the growing conviction that the possession of knowledge is not synonymous with learning. Many of our most effective teachers believe that their students have to be able to adapt, apply, expand, and think critically about knowledge in order to function in the real world as wise, ethical, and productive individuals. As a result, these teachers are using one or both of two other instructional approaches to produce more successful learning. One is a “generative” approach, in which students create something new from their knowledge. It could be a play about a historical event, a survey of their schoolmates to determine their attitudes or behaviors, a set of math problems drawn from their everyday experiences, an experiment to test a popular assumption about bullying, or a poem inspired by one they’ve read.

 The other approach is an “exploratory” one in which students interact with people, places, and information in terms of their own ages, interests and abilities. They do not stop at remembering facts about events, such as the American Revolution, but work on to explore the physical conditions, political forces, and individual personalities connected with them. Through field trips, watching videos, reading biographies and firsthand descriptions, and examining relics and memoirs of the times, they are able to gain a much deeper and more personal understanding than any textbook can give.  .  .  .”

 For both education and training to be successful today, we’ve got to move out of the traditional classroom and its antiquated teaching methods while, at the same time, embracing the marvelous new learning opportunities that multiple-media plus hands-on experience and student interaction allows.

More on Monday  –  –  –

        — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

      www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)