#36: Changing Educational Norms That No Longer Serve Us

It’s time to get a little existential. In this episode, my friend an colleague Bruce Dixon and I are discussing the profound artistry of teaching. Fueled by our mutual love of the works of Seymour Sarason, Bruce and I are going to weigh in on some of the topics mentioned in our last Shifting Conversations blog post. Namely, we want to discuss how the line we’ve been fed about learning is damaging our students and no longer serving them. We also want to discuss why it is so difficult for schools to change, and the kinds of cultural and societal biases we will face when changes happen.

Above all else, educators want to create conditions that will make kids want to learn. Currently, educators spend a lot of their time engaging their pupils around content they have no interest in and no context for. Sarason and other thought leaders like him know that productive learning happens when they are taught prescriptively. We need to be on the frontlines encouraging schools to shift their focus away from a set curriculum to tailoring education for each student’s needs and interests. This will certainly increase the need for teaching artistry, and we will need to battle some of the inherent fears when it comes to change.

Yes, we are doing this in the name of encouraging kids to become lifelong learners. Hopefully, changes to our schools will decrease achievement anxiety and create happy kids. It’s going to take a lot of work, and we are going to have to face some deeply rooted systematic problems. Our education system is facing an existential crisis. We can be the solution.


Works by Seymour Sarason 


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Will Richardson

Co-founder of Modernlearners.com and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

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