My principal, Ann, and I will often throw challenging statements into the conversation mix in the staffroom every now and then and wait for a bite.

"I can see a future where handwriting is an irrelevant skill." (This is guaranteed a rapid response with junior primary teachers who see that sentence as an attack on the skills of literacy and the development of fine motor skills.)

Ann also threw this gem out to our Assistant Principal and teacher-librarian: "Won't things be great when we change over to our paper-less, digital library?" They both knew that she is only half-joking.

I've also contemplated out loud about the demise of tree-based newspapers or the day our school our school has 1:1 laptops. It's not as if they don't know that these things already exist but I certainly detect an unwillingness to acknowledge that their school and their established way of work could be affected and move in these directions.

I've been told as much by my colleagues that paper will always prevail in classrooms, that our system will always need face-to-face teaching and libraries stacked full of books. A few have learned to try and bait me back with references to Susan Greenfield or similar. I just wonder what many of them thought when they heard Mark Treadwell talk about us being in the initial stages of the Internet Based Paradigm.

Schools have been the way they are for quite a while. There are plenty of teachers who believe that the slow change we've been used to in the education sector is just the way things are, that we are somehow immune to the rapid changes in society and all kids need to make their way into the future are the same tried and true basics.

So I'd like to keep my colleagues on their toes, keep niggling away at their certainties and get them to consider the bigger picture beyond their own classroom and help shape the changes that will inevitably crop up a lot sooner than anticipated. But I'm running short of provocations - do you have any to help me out? Or am I the one who needs to be challenged?


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8 thoughts on “Immunity

  1. Charlie A. Roy

    some starters:

    Imagine a day where teachers gave authentic assessments and multiple choice questions were outlawed.

    In the information age the teacher is often the biggest obstacle to learning

  2. Bob

    I like the thoughts.

    Another I face quite often is that we shouldn’t use computers too much because students have to handwrite in their exams. But mind you I think that same argument was used by slate users arguing against that new fangled quill pen?

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  4. Steve

    At some point in time, the institution of “school” may disappear. What will teachers call themselves then? Where will students learn?

  5. Errin

    I do a short “Tech Corner” at monthly staff meetings to encourage colleagues to think about the changes we are facing in the field of education. I’ve had some success with a few teachers now using blogs and wikis, but I think that others just don’t get it. They don’t think changes are necessary or possible. I worry that when they realize how far behind they are, it will be too late for them to catch up. I guess I’ll just have to keep niggling, too…

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  8. jeffb

    I couldn’t agree with you more that administration in many districts turn their head when new technologies or ideas come about. I feel too often that school boards and administration wait too long before purchasing new technology or providing students opportunities to use available resources to better help learning. For example, in our district of over 12,000 students, we still do not have Smartboards in many of the high school classrooms. The main response we get when we ask about getting Smartboards is “we’re working on it” or “you can write up a proposal and try to get a grant”. Unfortunately, with funding the way that it is in most states, I feel that schools will continue to fall behind in offering newer technology and resources to their teachers and students.


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