I did some reading today that I felt created some clarity to the debate surrounding a back to basic approach to education.
I understand that students respond better when they are active learners that are able to make connections with personal experiences and prior knowledge. This theory seems to resonate well with me.
What i hadn’t considered is the fundamental change in the way that students actively participate in their world and their learning by default. While what has been deemed the basics such as reading writing and arithmetic dominate the curriculum the new skills students need are being left to the way side. How does one read an interactive website? What is the appropriate way to communicate via a text message? Where does visual literacy fit in outdated notions of text?
Grammar as a function retains its significance. What is becoming clear is that this is very much context specific. With one of the greatest shifts seeing more text reflecting the spoken word such as instant messaging and text messages. Cope and Kalantzis call this ‘multiple Englishes’ (2009). If education is to reflect society then education must also adapt to cast a much broader web of content.
It is not only the content that is being taught but pedagogy in general that needs to adapt to learner needs. With advancements in technology students are more actively engaged with content then ever before. Visual and audio are being used to enhance and captivate learners.
The notion of active learners is paramount to engagement. In a generation where information is aesthetically pleasing and availably instantly students expect content to draw them in to create interest. They wish to click on hyperlinks and watch short YouTube clips. In an essence they wish to steer their own learning.
The skill now lies with educators to step back and balance the emerging need for learners to be actively involved with providing appropriate stimulating and engaging learning experiences. Didactic teaching practice should be boxed up with the floral corduroy flares. Only making an appearance when the time is right.
After all as educators are we not taught to meet them where they are at?