Fix “school” to fix the teacher shortage
Frank Bruni pens an op-ed in today’s NY Times on the teacher shortage conversation. Both the problem and answer are bigger than what Bruni outlines. Most of even our best schools are based on antiquated models – agrarian calendars, regimented class times, separation based on ages, credit for seat time rather than what students learn.
Schools don’t reflect how young people learn in the digital age. Nationwide, over half of high school students are disengaged from their learning experience. For today’s youth, school is just one node on a much broader network of learning.
Teachers and teaching are constrained by our traditional approach to school. We need a new vision for how to engage teachers in student learning that crosses over school, home, community, and online environments. Developing and implementing this vision is one of the goals of District of Learning, the new ecosystem in DC that uses digital badges to acknowledge anytime-anywhere learning and skills development— strengthening pathways to college and careers.
Teachers can help equip students with a Backpack, a GPS, and a Sherpa for learning.
Teachers can work together with community partners to create connected learning opportunities – learning that better connects students to their passions, peers, communities, and careers. They can help partners and students understand and use curriculum standards and skills standards beyond the classroom to link learning that happens anytime and anywhere. Teachers can validate that students have mastered content regardless of where or when it was learned, moving us to school credit based on competency instead of seat time.
By bringing together teachers, families, community partners, and students themselves, we can reinvent teaching to inspire a new generation of educators.