Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Changing Education Paradigms [VIDEO]

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms from The RSA on Vimeo.

Joseph Avakian was with us this week and was sharing and challenging us with how we could better communicate and educate in our school of biblical studies.  He showed us this video in one of his sessions... 

Hawaii 2012: the details YOU want to know.
I'm excited to be a part of an organization that is thinking outside of the box as far as how we educate.  Realizing that we have a classroom full of individuals means we have a responsibility to serve the individuals we are leading.  

My public education was less than enjoyable, in fact I hated middle and high school.  

From 2005-2008 I worked with at risk kids in a public high school.  I learned a ton, but saw there needed to be some serious changes made.  I did my best in my tiny corner of the school but I felt like I was having a very minimal impact.  

Engage:  What is your reaction to this video?  As an educator what PRACTICAL changes can/should we be making?  Share with us in the comments!   


  1. I
    haven't seen this, but have heard most of the ideas before. He's not
    talking about a paradigm shift-- but a total destruction of the current
    education system from top to bottom. It's a reasonably good expression
    of the problems but pretty weak on the
    plan to make the changes. We have definitely made education painful
    compared to distractions of a modern world. At one time education was
    an important way to put interest into your life. That motivation is
    gone. One paradigm shift implied here is that many (maybe most)
    students aren't cut out for traditional education at all. The
    philosophy for awhile now has been that everyone needs a standard
    education and everyone can be educated as we have known it. Maybe not.
    So how do we give the rest a new kind of education, and what do we
    train them to do?  There
    was an interesting email that came across my desk the other day in
    which a professor offered the idea that not only do we have to teach
    material, and how to learn, but now we should teach how to focus
    (listen). People are so used to multitasking
    that they can't focus on just one thing at a time. I guess your video
    maker would make the point that we should instead adapt the learning
    environment to accommodate the new student. Again, I can't envision
    just what that would look like. The current system works for those that
    can adapt. Or those that are determined to get educated as we know it
    now. Can we re-define what it means to be educated? Can we redefine
    the skills we need in the workplace? What about those that flourish
    under the present system? With they be the new group that fails in a
    new system? More questions than answers. 

  2. Hi Jim.....I think the video is very interesting.  Some good valid points in my opinion.  

    In teaching martial arts over the years, there are so many things that I have learned about educating people, especially children.   I will briefly touch on a couple here since you asked me to share.  First of all, I think one of the important things to remember is that people learn differently.  There are visual learners who learn by seeing something, auditory learners who learn by hearing something and kinesthetic learners who learn by actual doing the activity they are being taught.  To teach a good group class, you must make sure that your teaching method encompasses all 3 learning styles.

    I also think that teaching using influence instead of authority makes for a better and more enjoyable learning experience for people.  Developing rapport with the students really helps with this.  Each class we try to make sure that we make eye contact with each student, use their name and some kind of appropriate physical contact (hand shake, high five, pat on the back, etc.).  Depending on the size of the class, we try to make sure to do this 3 times with each student in a 45-60 minute class.  When we need to correct an action, we use the Praise-correct-praise model.  This means that we find something they are doing right and praise them for it.  Then we correct the action we want changed and when they make the change we praise them for it.  This sets up a very positive learning experience.  Another thing that sets up a positive experience is we use "Public Praise and Private Reprimand".  This means when a student does something great, we "shout from the rooftops" about the student but if we need to reprimand a student, we pull them off to the side and do it privately.

    To keep classes interesting we make sure that we disguise repetition when we need to practice basic skills over and over.  We also make sure that there is "Zero Downtime" which means that we never leave the class without something to do while we prepare for the next part of class, etc. 

    To incorporate most of these educational tools requires extensive planning by the teacher.  So I believe if you see an educator using a lot of these types of tools, they are a very good teacher.  They have had to put a lot of effort and planning into running a good class.

    There are many more tools but I hope this gives you some thoughts on ways that we try to teach great and effective classes.  If more classes were taught in the public schools in this manner, I think kids would like school a whole lot more!

    Hope this helps.

    Your friend,

  3.  I have very mixed thoughts on this article.  I work with Kindergarten children with ADD, ADHD and special needs.  I’m not sure that you can just say that kids are being made to be Zombies if they are medicated.  Some children cannot sit still or concentrate without medication.    Even sitting can be a great stimulation for a child without meds.  It’s just as easy for people to say don’t give the medicine as it is to say medicate. Yes Kindergarten children do have more thoughts on what things are used for because it is just the beginning of their introduction into the world of electronics.  As they grow they are exposed to more and more mindless activities. Changing the education structure won’t change the fact that children have every type of electronic toy and there are more to come.

  4. "If you think of it, the arts are victims of this mentality.  The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience... when your senses are operating at their peak... we're getting our children through education by anesthetizing them."

    This is brilliance.  I am fired up by this and am eager to share it with my friends.  I have witnessed exactly these behaviors and considered the same things being said in this video myself, but this is such an outstanding illustration of these MAJOR issues!

    To be honest, I don't know what I could add to what he's saying beyond the fact that the way that our schools are set up now does not allow for change in the system.  Unions, politics, state bureaucracy, standardized testing get in the way of change. So, if we want to see practical changes to the education system, then we have to change the minds of parents (voters) first, teachers second, politicians third. 

    I need to simmer on this a bit.  I'm a fan.

  5. First, I would just like to point out that this is a very visually engaging videos.  I love the illustrations and the way they are woven with the key words and the reoccurring DNA motif.

    I really connect with a lot of the issues that the speaker addresses.  Yes, I think we over-medicate the kids.  Yes, I think that a lot of the educational procedures, traditions, and structures are dated. Relb49 touched on a great point.  Tthe video is weak on solutions.  The speaker has obviously read up on the challenges facing modern educators.  He also understands what needs to be changed.  Unfortunately, he doesn't offer any notion of a solution.  I guess the first step to reform is recognition of the issues at hand, but that alone cannot solve the problems.  I think it is time to start seeking the solutions.  Bucking the system is difficult. As an educator, I see the systems in place and I'm required to use/follow them.  With my responsibilities as a teacher (which Jim knows can be overwhelming) it is difficult to find the time to rearrange the process and make it better.  I guess you could say that I am part of the problem.

    I'm not sure how to proceed.  It is late and I'm tired... and I have to teach tomorrow.  I'll keep doing my best and waiting for the next big educational renaissance.

  6. I really love the points he's made and I still think a lot of what it boils down to is 1) know your students individually and know them well and 2) teach them in reaction to what you know. This applies to their interests, learning styles, environmental preferences, etc. all across the spectrum. The problem is is that I will likely teach in the traditional public school setting (currently going for my teaching certificate for secondary education for Spanish), which, like he said, is not conducive to this. But I think that just challenges me all the more to be the best teacher I can be and to work within the system to try to change it.


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