Prompt: Write a post related to constant changes and the pendulum effect in education.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Write a post about learning styles and your thoughts on the recent research suggesting they are an ineffective teaching/learning tool.
- Discuss another topic where you have seen the pendulum shift in your time in education.
- Share about a subject where you have changed your mind and describe why.
- What is the next great pendulum shift you expect to happen over the next five years?
I just had a whole course in my doctoral program on educational paradigm shifts and the notorious pendulum. The class cited my most favorite educational thinker, Sir Ken Robinson. I had the pleasure of listening to him speak at an educational leadership conference a couple years ago and even had him “sign” the Kindle edition of one of his books for me! (I rarely buy “real” books anymore, preferring Kindle versions so I can add to the library I carry on my phone. The ability to whip out a book of mine on any interest at any moment is just too much power for me to pass up.)
It was when I saw this video years ago that I felt validated in my thinking about our educational system. It put everything I had been feeling about education into a very precise and shareable format:
My class on the educational paradigm shifts also highlighted another of my favorite Sir Ken clips:
One of the most powerful articles I read when in this class was one I located by Yong Zhao called “A World at Risk: An Imperative for a Paradigm Shift to Cultivate 21st Century Learners.” In it he has the following very powerful quote:
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the misguided policies that threaten democracy, turn American children into robotic test takers, narrow and homogenize our children’s education, encourage standardization instead of helping the needy children and stimulating innovation, value testing over teaching, and scapegoat teachers that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have squandered the opportunities brought about by technology, ignored research evidence, and paid no attention to what the future needs. ‘We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament’ (National Commission on Excellence in Education 1983, p.1).
Sir Ken Robinson and Yong Zhao are speaking my language. I have been in education for 17 years, I have seen the pendulum swing many times. However, I am not of the mindset that I am a victim of that pendulum. I am a firm believer in being the change I want to see in the world, and specifically in education. It may not be easy to be that change, but I can take steps to put myself in a position to help others who want to make big changes in education. I started making changes in my classroom, as many teachers do. As I have mentioned before, I aspire to be an administrator and am taking active steps to make that happen. I know what it feels like to work for administrators who want to change the way our children are educated and I want to add to those ranks. The more of us there are, the more change we can bring into our outdated educational system. We can work together to harness that pendulum and make it more of a spiral, taking the educational change that comes and building on it, always making education the best it can be for our children.
How do you react to the educational pendulum? Do you feel helpless and suffer through its swinging or do you feel you can make educational change?