Teachers are real heroes. They were yesterday, they are today and will be forever. They were heroes during the time of our grandparents, and I trust they will be heroes for our children. Teachers have the opportunity to serve as guides in the most transitional stage of life. Probably, we all have a teacher who made a class, a conversation or an exercise a life lesson that stuck with us. We all have that one teacher, leader, or guide that made our education a transformational step.
I am sure teachers today are acting as superheroes for their students. But I also know they might doubt or question this superpower. They may feel questioned by their peers and their family members. Because in today’s world, in which digital immigrants educate digital natives, the educational experience has become increasingly challenging. What used to be the mother of vocations, has turned into an extremely stressful and overwhelming job.
I spend a lot more time than I objectively have to read about educational methodologies. I confess that as I reflect on the Singapore, Danish, and Finnish methods or Learning by Doing, Inquiry Based Learning, Project Based Learning or Theory of Flipped Classroom, I think … all this information is spectacular but how does all this blend? How does all this become an opportunity as opposed to an overwhelming pressure? Teachers want to feel influential, feel the vocation as a fire that climbs up from below. Every teacher I ever met wishes to generate a meaningful experience for their students. How to generate a transformational experience for students? How to generate a co-creative and participatory environment in which students return to feel passion for learning? In the words of Melina Furman, when does the grey experience become a multicolored pathway?
I did not study pedagogy (yet), I do not face 30 young kids every day, I’m not a decision maker of the educational world, I am not a a policy maker in the educational field. But in the last two years, I have spent hours (probably the best of my life) in classrooms and school corridors. Looking. Listening. Closing my eyes and opening them. One of conclusions I reached is we should be flipping the classroom.
The theory of flipped classroom, in words that we all understand, is a pedagogical approach that is entirely different to how we were educated. Direct instruction (educational content) no longer exists in the space of collective learning (classroom) but instead in the individual’s house. This means that in the classroom, time is used differently. The classroom becomes a dynamic learning environment in which the educator guides students to ask questions, play, experiment, apply themselves, draw, build, look out the window, invent, manufacture, etc. The teacher encourages participation in order to learn creatively.
I can tell what you’re thinking. It sounds amazing! They should totally implement this! But how do you implement it? We may all agree that lecture type lessons are boring and almost old-school, but they are still the fastest way to transfer notes from teachers to student without passing through the minds of either. They still work, they still get students get through standardized tests
The problem is that teacher demotivation is at its peak. Teacher regulations add up and prevent teachers from innovation. Flipped classroom theory means that teachers must investigate, create lessons, propose something new …. More work for a teacher. You are wrong if you think I would attribute the existing problems in the system to teachers. There is no group that requires more help than them. They need us.
I believe we may all agree that something has changed. When we were young kids, teachers helped us become future citizens and professionals for a world they could imagine, that they could predict. Teachers face today the arduous task to prepare kids for a world they can’t even imagine how it will be and what challenges it will present. They have this task regardless of our lack of trust and judgments. Teachers today need, perhaps more than yesterday, the fundamental, ethical and unconditional support of the parent community. They need to regain their role as guide, but will struggle without the support and confidence of the student’s tutors. We can continue to criticize the education system, or we can take our share of responsibility and deliver the power to educate to teachers (yes, with all that that means).
Teachers need many things for the flipped classroom to happen. They need everyone’s support, artists, thinkers, and intellectuals may help them find the new formula that allows them to resuscitate the purpose of learning. Teachers also need politicians, curriculum needs to be aligned to what really happens in the classroom and in the world. Finally, teachers need academia. Those who teach to teach. Careers that involve education and pedagogy need to include strong components of innovation and promote multidisciplinary work.
Teachers need you, me, and everyone. Because as I heard from someone whom I love infinitely; solely you will always go faster, but together, we can go further.
Passionate about education