Guide or a Gatekeeper?
I recently purchased the book DITCH that Textbook by Matt Miller (Well I purchased it in January and have just started reading it). The book has a fascinating premise of removing the textbook as the centerpiece of the classroom. Yet so far, the most resounding idea from Mr. Miller is the concept of Gatekeeper or Guide. I just love this!
I all too often see, whether in my own school or elsewhere, teachers who believe they are the “gatekeeper” of knowledge. This is sadly (at least when I was in college) still an idea being pushed in education institutions. We (teachers) control the flow of knowledge in class. We hold the secrets of learning, and we sadly see the best method of instruction is the sit down and be quiet method. A while back on my vlog I made a video that touched upon this topic. Teachers use isolation of seating as a form to keep students quiet in order to impart knowledge. This however fails in our education system today.
First let’s look at how information is now gathered by our students. Originally any ideas or concepts had to be learned from either a teacher or library. Now students have unlimited knowledge at their fingertips. Think: How does trivia in conversation become contested? We look it up in under a few seconds. Fortunately, due to this information era we need not retain all the minute details of a specific event in history. As long as students retain the major facts of any subject they will be fine. Thus effectively killing the gatekeeper idea. Students thrive on collaboration and self-paced learning. Being able to assimilate data as it comes and apply it in meaningful ways.
Teachers must break the gatekeeper mold and instead guide their students in their learning. This is also known as individualized learning (yeah…not a new concept). Now, in today’s technological saturated world there is no reason a teacher can’t easily individualize instruction for their students. Online, collaborative environments provide students unprecedented access to information and instruction all while being afforded immediate feedback on whatever they do. Teachers must embrace this guide mentality to help them navigate the immediate knowledge afforded to them by this new era of technology.
As far as education innovation goes this is by far the easiest and most immediate action that can be done. We need to start teaching kids how to think instead of telling them what to think.
So are you a guide or gatekeeper? What will help education stay relevant? Let me know in the comments below!