Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Elegy on "Classroom Teacher"

Recently I wrote presentation proposals for MAME 37 and MAPSA. On one of the forms I was asked to indicate my professional role. Perfunctorily, I began to enter "classroom teacher." But then I realized how ironic this phrase was considering the topics of my proposals:

Using Apple’s Challenge-Based Learning to Build Learning Networks

Building A Knowledge Hub for Your Learning Community

Challenge Based Learning removes the teacher from the role as dispenser of knowledge and places him or her into the role of guide.In my experience, most of the learning takes place outside of the classroom for my projects. Students use the school schedule and space for meetings on logistics.

Professional teachers also have a role in knowledge hubs, but their expertise is not utilized in a specific "room" at a scheduled time. Students are encouraged to network with any teacher, not just "their teachers". Students are likely to confer with teachers on subjects they are not even assigned to teach in any classroom that school year.

It is my hope that "Classroom teaching" may soon become a kind of anachronism like "steam shovel" or "dial tone." We still us the phrase, but those shovels aren't powered by steam and few people access a tone by "dialing" a phone. With today's technology we don't need to conceptually confine authentic teaching to classes or rooms.

MHS tenth graders engaged in challenge project

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