What would you do if you attended a seminar and the speakers didn’t show up? If they just left a serious of clues [QR codes/twitter feed/tangram pieces] and instructions for you to follow? An amazing race style challenge. Would you sit and play on your phone? Wait patiently for the presenters? Try to get to the bottom of the clues? Wait for someone else to be proactive? These reactions and more were what happened today at the ‘Audacious Classroom’ session, presented by Chantelle Morrison [@misscmorrison] and Lou Deibe [@ldeibe]. Due to time constraints, they stepped into the learning space once we had figured out that we were in control of the learning.
What do you think of when you hear the words ‘audacious’ and ‘classroom’ in the same sentence?
1. extremely bold or daring; recklessly brave; fearless: an audacious explorer.
2. extremely original; without restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive: an audacious vision
of the city’s bright future.
3. recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like; insolent; brazen.
4. lively; unrestrained; uninhibited: an audacious interpretation of her role.”
Classrooms over the past 100 years rarely have any ‘audacious’ elements. They seem to be more like Qantas classrooms. Expensive, take your assigned seat, belt in, remain quiet, turn your technology off and hang on for the ride. You need to pay extra for a comfortable experience. Usually 10x what the average consumer is paying. If you step out of line, one of the crew members will require you to go back to your seat. This makes for a quiet and safe travel experience from point A to point B.
Our classrooms, historically, have been run in a similar fashion. However this trip called education lasts for 12+ years. Many schools are experimenting with technology integration, blended learning, collaborative learning spaces and authentic learning tasks. These are excellent steps in the right direction.
But what else would you need to do in your classroom this year to be bold with your classroom? Reckless? Extremely original? An audacious explorer?
How would that fit with meeting curriculum requirements? NAPLAN testing? Parental expectations? Looks from other teachers? Resistance from students?
The students themselves crave for real world learning experiences. Not just high stakes testing practice. They know the difference between true engagement, and bottleneck testing at the end of Year 12. We’re not going to change some of our Qantas classrooms overnight. But perhaps we’ll start to think of small steps to make the ride more enjoyable. Like this guy:
Whatever steps you decide to take, make sure that your window shade is up, armrest down, seatbelt on, because there may be some turbulence during an educational transition in your school. But I believe it will be worth the ride.
**This was one of the presentations at this years National Interactive Teaching and Learning conference run by www.iwb.net.au. It was a fascinating look at how they have implemented student centred, collaborative learning at Northern Beaches Christian School.