While the teacher’s role is currently mentioned in corporate reform involving technology, it is diminishing. Teachers are being replaced by outside partnerships who control how and what students learn.
Simultaneously, the student-to-student role is increasing. Students are being relied on to instruct each other.
This is exemplified in the term “collaboration.”
What collaboration used to mean.
- Teachers have students work in groups. When it works well, children come together, socialize, and learn from each other. Sometimes it doesn’t go well. One student dominates the group, or no one wants to lead, or a shy student gets left out of the conversation. Good teachers know when to intervene.
- Another use of the word collaboration is where teachers work with other teachers and staff. They discuss student progress and work on goals for the future.
The new definition of collaboration.
Corporate reform involves taking a familiar concept and twisting it to mean something different, not in a good way.
If reformers succeed, collaborative learning will be students working in online charter schools, at home, or a variety of other settings without teachers.
Traditional public schools will cease to exist. There will be no more teachers. That’s why student learning independence is critical.
The term collaboration where teachers work together on behalf of the student has changed too. It no longer means teachers getting together to discuss student progress.
It references, instead, outside partnerships and a merging of traditional public schools with charter schools. If we are not careful, we will eventually only have online charters run by corporations.
The new collaboration focus.
But can students, even the youngest learners, teach themselves through technology? If left to work by themselves will they learn without an adult to guide them?
It sounds strange. It is strange. But this transformation is happening in front of our very eyes!
To prove this point, here are quotes and issues that stand out from the collaborative learning websites.
- Teachers who use the Collaborative Classroom model make an intentional shift from having a classroom where they do the majority of the talking to constructing a learning situation and then facilitating it through student thinking and talking.
- The very success of our instruction hinges on students being able to work together and push each other’s thinking.
- Discussion about “intrinsic motivation” and children “constructing knowledge and engaging in action” runs rampant.
- Does the emphasis on “safe environments” here mean there will be many students in the room teaching each other without supervision?
- Social-emotional learning and academic learning are spoken of together. Students will be expected to behave if they are working on their school work by themselves.
- Students must extend their own thinking and expand on the thinking of their peers.
- Having the skills necessary to hold a substantive discussion is emphasized.
- Students must have enough content knowledge to build upon the thinking of others.
- There is much talk about Growth Mindset, getting children to believe they can do a task. This will help them work without a teacher.
Along with this, there is a push for students tutoring each other.
Certainly students can learn from each other, but the new collaboration is meant to take this a giant step further beyond what any of us can imagine.
Removing the teacher from the equation is a totally unproven, radical step that will change the nature of instruction forever. It’s scary to think about.
Collaboration. A word to watch out for. Let me know your thoughts. Thank you.