Hailey D. Barry
Vancouver Community College
Professor: Jacquie Harrison
‘Traditional’ education systems no longer work. Why are we using the same educational models when times have changed? Employment requirements as well as the workplace have changed, and ultimately student needs as well as their expectations of education have changed?
This journal is a personal reflection in response to an RSA Animate video titled ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ that was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson. Ken Robinson is a world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.
This talk supplemented by a highly engaging animation video caught my attention because it highlights the aspects of current education that require change. Wearing the hat of student as well as instructor in this age of technology, information, stimulation and adaptation, I can empathize from both sides of education. As a student, I am grateful that there are so many resources available that make learning and research interesting, engaging and enjoyable. As an instructor, I can appreciate the difficulty in keeping up with the demands of the classroom when students’ needs vary, and different learning styles and capabilities need to be considered. It is not acceptable anymore to deliver a lesson in one medium. Students have an awareness and expectation now about what they learn and how they learn it. When I graduated high school 13 years ago, it was accepted that we learned what we learned in the way that was most comfortable for our instructor to teach it. We considered ourselves lucky if we got the teacher that used videos as part of their curriculum.
I really liked this talk and chose it to reflect on because I agree with what Sir Ken Robinson is saying. We need to shake up our education systems and models. Our education systems are built on old, if not archaic ideals and expectations. Unless an instructor takes it upon themselves to deliver curriculum in creative and different ways, recognize the gaps that are present in a group of learners, and attempt to have the topic absorbed in more than one way, the information will most likely be lost somewhere between instructor and student. Basically, this is a waste of time and energy.
Thinking about my own experience in the public school system, I can remember two teachers who took it upon themselves to teach differently. I am sure that the curriculum did not call for them to create silly songs so students would remember and understand English material, or art projects to depict historical events. These teachers were not the norm, they went over and above to deliver material in a number of different ways in the classroom so that everyone got an equal chance at learning, understanding and remembering what the topic was. I truly feel that this needs to become the norm in our education models. Creativity needs to be part of the modern day instructor’s curriculum.
The key ideas in this talk have motivated me to continue to be creative as an instructor. Even though I pride myself in taking a variety of approaches to information delivery, I could push myself a bit more. I can get outside my comfort zone and explore even more ideas for my students. I can ask for more input, and gain more insight about what the students expect from the course aside from the obvious outcomes. I already get students to do short reflective writing assignments about the course material- but I realize how beneficial it would be for me to include a reflective writing assignment about course delivery as well.
As the lead instructor for the course I instruct, I have a lot of influence on the lesson plans and curriculum. During the course duration, the students do have other instructors deliver material in some areas I don’t have experience with. I get consistent feedback that the weeks I am not present, the students feel they were bored, the information was relevant but they couldn’t focus and they don’t recall as much from those areas of the course. This is discovered through quizzes and the final exam.
As this will be the third year I have delivered this course, I think it would be safe for me to approach our coordinator and discuss options so that all instructors use more variety in their delivery. I will also have my students write that reflective assignment about the delivery of information as well. This would be a good support for my voice when I bring ideas for next year to our coordinator.
The more I learn, and the more variety I have in my learning the more I realize how different the learning experience is now. We are living in a time when lifelong learning is available to everyone. We no longer rely on books and mentors solely to provide us with information. If you cannot read, you can listen- to the internet, to podcasts, to electronic books, and to TED talks. There are so many options and even though all these different realities are slowly becoming our current reality, education systems remain pretty much the same as they have for decades. I hope that we see changes in reaction to student and learner demands and expectations. And I hope that we see traditional education shift into something more creative and applicable for the age we are living in.
RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms (2010, October 14). Retrieved December 11, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&list=PLD57AB085E6745C43&index=1