If the purpose of schooling is developing lifelong (self-directed, self-managed, self-regulated, autonomous, independent) learners, how well are we doing? Is it possible to achieve curriculum objectives and support the development of such individuals?
My contention is that we are at a confluence of history where the proliferation of school subject based websites, the ubiquity of high-speed internet and connectable devices and the comfort all students have with the digital world are combining to bring about a revolution in teaching.
The revolution in education involves teachers abandoning ‘transmission’ teaching and adopting principles of skills based, guided inquiry learning. This means teachers teaching the skills of good learning using their particular subject matter as the ‘meat’ for students to practice their learning skills on. It involves students utilising net-capable devices, working in small groups, accessing subject-based websites, practising cognitive skills like searching, selecting, verifying, validating and corroborating information as well as social skills of collaboration, communication, team work and affective skills like perseverance and persistence. In this scenario, teaching becomes about making explicit all the processes of learning and guiding the students on a pathway of inquiry to achieve specific measurable content and process based outcomes. Helping the students to ask the right questions and follow their leads to reach the subject objectives.
When every student has access to all the information in the world 24/7 then the most marketable skills will be the skills of good learning. How to find the right information, process it well, extract what you need and move on having learnt something new. These are the skills of the self-regulated learner and in order to become competent in these skills children need to be put in the position of practicing the regulation of their own learning.
By Lance King.