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Existing Paradigms in Education

Education

Existing Paradigms in Education

The world is constantly shifting and changing, introducing new generations of people who grow up, leave school and enter the workforce. And yet education has largely remained the same for more than 100 years.

At Intelitek, we turn many of the existing beliefs about education on their head, revitalizing the educational system for the students of today. We encourage schools and educational institutions to revisit many of the incorrect paradigms which are standing in the way of building a strong workforce for tomorrow.

Education Paradigms

Existing Paradigm #1: Students are a Blank Slate

Historically, a student’s brain was considered a blank slate, similar to a car chassis at the beginning of a production cycle. Educators used to refer to each new student as an empty container, ready to receive an outpouring of knowledge from the teacher. We now know that this is not the case.

All students do not start out the same, and none of them are blank slates. All students have prior knowledge, and this varies from person to person. Educators need to be able to teach each student as an individual, becoming mentors, and enabling students to reconcile what they are learning with their own existing understanding of the world. In the right environment, students will learn “how to learn” and be transformed from being a passive recipient of knowledge, to being active in their own learning.

Shift in Paradigm: Knowledge is a Personal Activity

How to Achieve This:

  • Tailor-made learning paths – no two students are forced to learn the same thing
  • Students should be encouraged to find their unique area of success and aptitude with the help of formative assessments.
  • Focus on real-world problem-solving skills with reflection on student’s studies and activities
  • Encourage students to hypothesize and experiment

Existing Paradigm #2: Computers Interfere with Thinking

You only have to look at the attitude to calculators to understand the negative view of computers in the education system. Rather than be seen as a tool to master and use to succeed, many believe that technology hinders thinking skills.

The truth is, that students don’t need to learn how to solve the same problems that computers can do, as they will never beat the efficiency and accuracy of machines. Instead, computers can be used to help us sharpen our thinking and create opportunities for active learning.

Shift in Paradigm: Learning to Master Technology Can Open Doors for Tomorrow’s Workforce

How to Achieve This:

  • Create curricula emphasizing STEM subjects for a more technologically able workforce
  • Make technology, coding and robotics accessible for the 99% of students who cannot currently access it
  • Utilize the Connected Computing revolution to allow for distance learning and virtual robotics.

Existing Paradigm #3: Learning Occurs Individually and Teachers should take the Lead

Even today, knowledge is given and received in silos, again mirroring what we saw in the age of production lines. Teachers are just that – supervisors made for giving over knowledge, and do not encourage questions or the adapting of their information. Students are expected to sit quietly and take in information, without interaction with their peers, or collaboration with other students or guests.

Shift in Paradigm: Teachers are Mentors, and no Student is an Island

How to Achieve This:

  • Foster discussion and teamwork amongst students.
  • Create constructive competition to encourage success.
  • Discourage the idea of the teacher as the ‘single source of knowledge’.
  • Train teachers to build new curriculum from scratch, offering students a personal journey.
  • Move away from replacing teachers with computers. Rather, teach instructors to be mentors, giving them a vital place in supporting their student’s education.

 

Existing Paradigm #4: Knowledge is the Goal of Education

Our schools are determining the workforce of tomorrow, and currently many of them revolve around curricula that focus on the transfer of knowledge rather than education. Intelligences vary from student to student, and all will have their roles in society once education is over.

Taking the time to identify which students have which intelligences can be key for success. There are many examples. Some might have Verbal intelligence – suited for presenting ideas and thoughts, or Intrapersonal intelligence for people skills. Visual intelligence is suited to thinking in three dimensions. Becoming familiar with recognizing these skills is essential.

Shift in Paradigm: Knowledge Acquisition does not define Education

How to Achieve This:

  • Recognize that students have multiple intelligences, and work to foster these.
  • Teach lifelong learning skills.
  • Don’t forget soft skills. Confidence, collaboration and creativity are all essential in the workforce.
  • Use technology to give teachers the pedagogic skills to do more than transfer knowledge.

When we treat today’s students with yesterdays educational paradigms, we are doing them a disservice. As educators and institutions, we have a responsibility to constantly revisit and redefine education to make sure we are providing the best standard of learning possible. This includes looking back at the incorrect assumptions we have made in the past, not only about how we teach, but also about how students learn.

Read more about Education 4.0 by downloading this white paper from Intelitek.

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