Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Trends and shifts in education are driven by the changes that happen in the world. A series of plenary sessions and panel debates took place at the University of Waterloo in the fall of 2013. Leading thinkers in education from all over the world participated. TVO's The Agenda looked at what was learned from this summit in its series: TVO on the Road: Learning 2013. It was noted that education has shifted from passing on oral traditions to "factory setting” classrooms with students engaged in rote learning to individualized learning plans for students based on student-centred curriculum -- all driven by changes in technology. It was further noted that children born in 2012 will enter a school system where facts will have little value, being replaced by inquisitiveness, creativity and collaboration, and that learning, which was once steeped in books, will be shaped by the screen. These comments do not surprise me. We live in a world increasingly dominated by the Internet, smartphones and tablets. These are the things that are engaging the students. As they say, "it is what it is.” Benchmarks for learning, methods of learning and tools for learning shift through time. That's understandable, and we need to be aware, keep in touch, and adjust accordingly. Two things that do concern me are: a trend towards throwing out facts and the focus on student-centred curriculum. I am troubled that facts are increasingly getting a bad rap. Facts are necessary in order to help shape and support opinions. Concerning student-centred curriculum: I get the point, but we harvest the terms student-oriented curriculum and Christ-centred curriculum.