For such a small word, change has a big impact on our lives. Some hear that word and cringe. Others hear that word and get inspired.
Change is something people have been chasing since the dawn of time. Never quite comfortable with what we have, the world has seen an immense amount of change in its existence. Most recently, in the last century, change has become so rapid we are having a hard time keeping up. Just read up on the Knowledge Doubling Curve by Buckminster Fuller. Human knowledge doubling every year? Holy cow!
For the many areas in our life where change has become a constant (technology, anyone?), there are an equal amount of areas where there hasn’t been much change. One of these areas is in education. There is often the question that if someone from 1915 were to time travel to a present day classroom, could they tell they had traveled 100 years into the future? I’m not sure that is a fair question, but it is worth thinking about. Have we changed our educational practices to meet the needs of our students today? Are we preparing them for the rapid change in our world?
If we want to prepare our students for a world that will soon double its knowledge every 12 hours, we need to be champions of change. We have to train our students how to deal with this…the influx of information, that things will come and go quickly, creating their own change. The best ideas are the ones that aren’t out there yet, so how to do we ready our students?
1) Weeding information
With the massive amount of information that is and will be coming in, we need to teach students how to decipher that information, collect what is useful and what isn’t, and then how to use it to their benefit. Students need to learn how to research, especially digitally, and find reliable sources.
Databases can be helpful for students, but we also need to model how to use the Internet. ‘Google it’ has become the primary way for all people, adults and children alike, to find information quickly. With the information highway getting more and more crowded, we need to model how to locate good information, change how we use our critical thinking skills, research, and interpret what we find.
As change comes even more rapidly, we need to show students that we too can be adaptable. We need to embrace the fact that our teaching practices have to change to be able to help students with rapid change. Using technology, giving students the ability direct their learning, and leading from the sidelines are all ways we can show students how to adapt and give them key skills to use our new and ever changing world.
3) Find your passion
We all have things that we are passionate about. We need to be able to share that with our students, but at the same time, we need to be able to give them the freedom to find their passion as well. Working on our passions inspires and engages us in what we love. From this comes the greatest of creations.
We have a choice. We can decide to become overwhelmed with change, let it bring us down, and cringe every time we hear it. Or we can become champions of change, working with our students to learn from it, move forward, and create a world that is ripe for it and its citizens.
Allow change to inspire you, your classrooms, and your students. Because it isn’t going away and be happy that it’s not. Change will be the only thing to help us to cure cancer, clean the environment, and bring peace. And your students are in possession of that change. Help them deliver it.