TEACHERS!? We Don’t Need No Stinking Teachers!

“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. 🙂

We Don’t Need No Education

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5 Responses to TEACHERS!? We Don’t Need No Stinking Teachers!

  1. Penney Morse says:

    It would be great if we, as a society, could make it happen. Do you know of any schools in the US that have tried? One thing teacher can do is expose students to ideas, concepts, and information they never would have come up with on their own. Some things like math have to be taught, but there is some great curriculum that introduces advanced concepts in innovate and interesting ways, but it works best when kids are motivated to learn. I guess that’s the key–how to get them motivated. It’s like how do you get people motivated to practice money management.

    • miltownkid says:

      It’s not as difficult as it seems. If you think back to my economics video, all I did is spice it up with language that my target audience could understand (Xbox games). As far as money management goes, that should actually be easy. You just have to frame it in a way that’s important to them.

      Maybe start with tracking how much they spend on video games and how much they make when they sell them. That might get them to be more conscious about how they acquire games (purchasing them used instead of new, etc.)

  2. sandra says:

    I’m going to check Sugata out….a treat this morning…

    chomp.chomp.chomp.chomp.chomp. you hear the teachers
    their coming to take us away..ha ha…he he..ho ho
    Here in the states (I hate labels…but don’t get me started) it’s called unschooling…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling
    Oh its deeper than that. I love when educators say and the “poor parents” they need help and they can’t read either or help johnnie with his homework…
    Maybe parents, cousins, uncle louie and everyone should just show up and hang out with the kids, the teacher and have fun in the classroom too.
    OMG this would never happen. Because “Ego” just may get pissed. Because “Ego” knows everything…
    We know we have a literacy problem in this country. We know this. Yet we still expect to give he kid “smartie” pills at school and everything will just be fine once they find a “Job”. Keeping a “job” (instead of creating one, God forbid) that someone else , who loved teachers too, shows you have arrived and made it in the world.
    And don’t get me started on job environments which are just like these schools, where there is expert teacher called “boss”. Boss would not have you think, not experiment or ye may get fired. You’re fired. You dared to have fun and get the work done….
    They’are comin to take us away….ha ha, he hee

  3. sandra says:

    Just heard Sugata Mitra

    Unbelievable !

    They’re coming to take us a way…and as they chomp.chomp.chomp
    I hear the refrains….”but those kids they need the social connections.they need to interact with others(not themselves mind you, nor their peers as they were doing in the video)
    And its not joke that learning should be fun…I have a project I’m working on and its killing me because my internalized Parent/Teacher is doing me in: ‘You need to do this’, And it needs to be in this order, and don’t put that over there, oh that is not going to look good..and on and on.

  4. Kweku says:

    I know where you’re getting at. I sure hope people (not us since we are hoping this will really happen soon) notice that elementary school- high school, if teachers constantly teach and dont let us teach ourselves unless we ask questions. When we get to college, it’s going to be really hard for us to teach ourselves since thats pretty much what college is about. Teachers just lecture the basics and its up to us to learn the rest. If we dont understand something then we just ask them a question and they can educate us or attempt to educate us on what we asked. And they say it’s easier to teach skills like that to us early in life than in high school because we already have a pretty much adult-set mind. So if they start this system earlier then I can guarantee our study skills that most people say we Americans do poorly will be just up to par when we get to college and i can guarantee homework will be no more because we will understand it perfectly to the point where we will all do homework in class rather than at home.
    So Casey, you my friend are on point on this topic and topics in general lately.

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