Articles I Never Finished Reading, Dept.


Times Educational Supplement (TES) has a bromide, otherwise known as an article, about how schools are out of date. To wit and for example:

“We need to move away from classrooms that have not progressed since the days of chalk and talk – with a desk at the front, where teaching remains in the hands of teachers and students are passive recipients of information, rather than active learners.

Similarly, subject faculties are often entirely separate entities, dividing the chefs from the software developers, so never the twain shall meet.

This traditional scenario simply doesn’t represent the workplace that our students will enter – the old-style office is just as last century as the classroom. In the future, chefs will probably need to work hand-in-hand with software developers to create apps to promote their restaurant or hire a social media expert to help them develop their advertising strategy.”


First of all, he’s making his point via something that people are reading, thus using direct instruction. So he’s doing his own version of chalk and talk as do many ed school teachers, and professional development vendors. He also assumes that no “aha” moments can come from direct instruction, and that such mode consists entirely of lecture, with no questions or Socratic type dialogue from the teacher.

Putting that aside for the moment, let’s look at his vision of the future. Most professionals already have developed their level of expertise and are no longer novices, as most schoolchildren are. They can thus interact in ways that those still learning the basics cannot. But this doesn’t bother him. In his view, we can all meld history with math with art and spelling and tear down what he feels are the restrictive borders of education.

Such Summerhillian vision might appeal to those in their twenties who hold to such ideals, but I’m reminded of a story my uncle once told me. In the days of newsreels (before television), there was once a feature he saw about what the future would look like. Airplanes were increasingly being used for commercial purposes, so this newsreel “look into the future” talked about how “icemen” (people who delivered ice to your home to use in ice-boxes which were the way house refrigerators worked back then) would be phased out as airplanes would drop blocks of ice on your front porch.

While the reality of dropping heavy items on residential property escaped the creators of this feature, so did the possibility that something other than ice could be used as a refrigerant.

In the meantime, fundamental knowledge is not going to disappear to be replaced by Google, or Siri. But don’t tell the author about this.


2 thoughts on “Articles I Never Finished Reading, Dept.

  1. I can’t make any sense of the article. Further Education and technology-driven self-directed learning using many different choices or teacher-mandated mixed-ability group learning with no real individual differentiation and acceleration? If online tools have advanced that much and they really want differentiated instruction (learning), then let the parents and students choose. Let’s drop the ancient educational monopoly and open up the process (choice) to students and parents. Old school monopolists do NOT want modern educational ideas and choices that would interfere with their control of the process and dollars. They attempt to make silly claims that the two are the same.


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