Education is one of the slowest professions to change. We have been using the same classroom layout since the Jesuit schools in the 1400s. The content only changes with time and we make new discoveries and new works are written. The way that we teach, while diversifying, is many times the archaic direct instruction. Many theories are decades old. Over and over and over we try to change policy to improve student achievement. And the policies are only new versions of the old. And student achievement stagnates.
And what have we done? We have crippled our education system through assessment, review, testing, and teaching reproducible content. We have made education predictable. In many ways, we have made it common. Where is the vision of critical thinking? Where is the movement to creativity? We test. We review. We remediate. All for what? Wasn’t it Albert Einstein that said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well, that is where we are. Our education system is insanity.
So, as we embark on this new semester, I think a key word that we need to adopt is flexibility. Some of us are face to face. Some online. Some both. And, things could change. We need to be flexible. We need to be able to change. Change is going to happen. Instead of fighting it, we need to embrace it.
We are all in a time of great potential. We can try things. We can experiment with new technologies. We can experiment with new pedagogies. We can flip classrooms, twist up our lessons, and create new forms of assessment. Now is a time to be creative. Now is a time to be critical of our practices and experiment.
So, to each of you, I urge you to try something new this semester—something you have never done before. It is okay to fail. Turn that failure into a lesson. Teach our students that one of the greatest skills we have is to create.