Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just another brick in the wall.

"I have no teacher therefore I cannot learn," was the phrase that came to mind as I read a New York Times article [Monday 27 August 2007] which suggested that US schools were scrambling to fill their fall quotas as more and more baby boomer teachers retired. Imagine that these same schools were in India where governments have to find another five and a half million new places every year to cope with the demands of a population profile where half the nation is under twenty five! Of course despite their valiant efforts they do no such thing and some four million would be entrants are locked out of the system every year and of course in their ability to participate in the flat earth economy.

But who made it up that learning requires teachers, desks and places? Could it be that as a paradigm for delivering learning this notion has reached its use by date? Perhaps the emerging shortages are really the best thing that could happen as it will force schools to innovate in order to deliver to the demands of their students. Might we be on the cusp of a new age where learning centres are open all year, - which would be a much better return on the huge resource that they are - technology plays a central role in shaping pathways to learning and wise people are on call to act as mentors and guides when required. Is it now time for teachers to challenge the foundations of the current system and begin to devise new delivery mechanisms that will serve the learners of the future?

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