“We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. Teacher leave those kids alone.” – Pink Floyd (No wonder mom was a Pink Floyd fan. lol)
What have I done… I could write three posts a day if I wanted to (and you guys let me 😉 ). I believe I may have opened Pandora’s box! lol
What I want to do is bring up the idea of the teacherless classroom. I’ve touched on this idea a couple of times in the past (“Can Kids Teach Themselves” and “The Chaos Theory of Education“) but wanted to bring it up again as a follow up of yesterday’s post about the goal of public education.
The Teacherless Classroom
We don’t have to wonder if teacherless classrooms are possible. Sugata Mitra (Wikipedia) is proving that they are for us. If you haven’t seen his TED Talks on this topic yet and you feel as strongly as I do about all of this, you need to. There may be more, but I’ve seen two of his talks. The first is titled “Can Kids Teach Themselves?” and I’m going to post the second one here:
Sugata Mitra’s New Experiments In Self-Teaching
I believe that once you watch the videos and do a little research on your own you’ll come to the same conclusion as I have:
We don’t need no stinking teachers!
So what? We just have kids running around schools with no teachers?
No. Actually, we still need teachers, but the definition of what a teacher is needs to change. Teachers shouldn’t be viewed as people that are trying to stuff “knowledge” into the minds of kids. They should be viewed as people that help kids absorb knowledge they’re naturally attracted to. The only time a person should do any teaching (and the only time teaching truly ever happens) is when person A asks person B “How do I..?” Whoever person B is has now become a teacher and person A is now the student.
Every day everyone in a school should have been a student and a teacher AT LEAST once. Teachers hang out in schools acting like they know everything. If they’re so smart… WHY DID THEY DECIDE TO BE TEACHERS!!! lol 😉
What Does An Ideal Classroom Look Like?
I spent 5 years teaching English in Taiwan to kindergartners. The first thing I learned was that if it wasn’t fun (stimulating), they wouldn’t do it. The second thing I learned was, if it wasn’t fun, they wouldn’t do it. 😉 I mean, you could force them to do something boring for a while but… it only lasts so long.
So my classes would bounce from one topic to another, we’d dance, we’d play, we’d color and I’d “secretly” teach them. The kids really interested in dinosaurs would learn all of the English names. I taught the kid interested in baseball a bunch of baseball vocabulary. Around all of that was a base that everyone had to learn (their name, basic classroom commands, colors, etc.) but you get the idea.
Transplant this thinking into middle or high school and I see a classroom with a bunch of computers, an area to read, a TV and some desks. Kids come in and work on… whatever they want to work on and I help set goals to get them there. If they want to be “Gangster Rappers” when they grow up, I might have them research their favorite ones, write a report to educate me, do a demonstration to the class, etc. If they want to be doctores they would focus on different things.
If a kid was raised from kindergarten to be in complete control of his education with “guides” (teachers) there that help him along the way, “teaching” would be much more enjoyable to both students and teachers. It’d be almost effortless.
Anyhow, I really just wanted to introduce Sugata Mitra. 🙂