Failing Teachers, Failing Children

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Do you want to teach with a growth mindset angle, a constructivist foundation, or a more didatic method? All of those ideas are fine, but they should all be considered only as potential ideas, nothing more. Take those years of research at Stanford, build something out of it in two days, and test it for a week at a school. In that one week you will learn more about what is effective in your unique environment than those ten years of research. In a recent project, I was asked to better engage middle school students with taking tests. I copy and pasted four different methods like Growth Mindset and gave them to students at the Boys and Girls Club before they took a test.

All four digital methods crashed and burned for the students, with students quitting my math test after about 3 to 5 minutes. I then co-created with the students: they showed how their peers motivated them more than a computer program. When a high school student with your same skin color talks, that means something.

I do not know what academic theory the students were tapping into, but that was the winning idea. We created videos of high school students telling how they double checked their answers to pass. It worked, students wanted to take the test. Suggestion 2 to Summit Learning: It is good you are looking at science, but do not treat that science as god spoken.

Your classroom is not 18 year old white males in college, where the vast majority of academic research came from. Instead, prototype and try out a diversity of theories until you find what works for the children and teachers you serve. One of the largest challenges that personalized learning faces is that there is not a clear working model to copy from.

I cannot point at a piece of educational software and say just do that. And because there is no working method to copy, designers of personalized learning tools need to recognize they are taking stabs in the dark. To make matters worse, kids are often a voiceless consumer. My clients seldom ask children what they think or what is broken.

If you take time to observe and listen to what kids want, they will paint a different world for how digital education should look like. The same goes for teachers — they have needs that are going unmet too.

Many Schools Get Failing Grades When Teaching Kids with ADHD

As long as funding and permission comes from school boards and admins, edtech companies are likely to miss their real consumers. When you fail to listen to your customers, your students are going to start dropping out of schools and teachers are going to post protest signs.

It is your fault they feel this way, not theirs. In the New York Times article, the Summit team came off as distant — claiming the parents and students are nostalgic and resistant to change. A more human centered approach would be to listen and embrace these complaints. If a child does not like your program, there is something there for you to learn and improve on.

Student Vs. Teacher (2019)

I do not know how true it is that the Summit team is not human centered as the article suggests ; my peers in the field have said otherwise. None the less, there is a lesson here about the importance of putting students and teachers first. I understand why a human centered design process is hard. We had a heart to heart about how hard it is to get permission from all the stakeholders and funders to experiment.

As an innovator, you are diving in, hoping all the pieces work on the first try. They seldom do. I advised the fund that they should instead take one class and rapidly iterate on the experience — make it work the way they wanted it to, before replicating to other schools. This process would involve daily iterations and heavy co-creation with the teachers and students. They agreed, but that is not how funding works — you have to sell a perfectly baked solution from the get go. Suggestion 3 to Summit Learning: Tackling personalized learning is a monumental design task.

Give it the time, space, and resources to nourish. You started out by jumping into a school system, but your idea was not fully fleshed out.

Reception teachers are failing a third of five-year-olds, major Ofsted report finds

What would have happened if instead, you tried it in one class in Kansas school and solicited feedback? When students told you they felt like zombies, you would have time to respond.

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You would have seen teachers failing to interact with students, and could have made changes. Human centered design is not just a mindset, it is an environment. Create the space where mistakes can be made and addressed without children dropping out of school. The New York Times article all but said personalized learning is a failure. I used to think the same. However, after years in the digital classroom, I see potential, potential that keeps me writing. Personalized learning allows students to:. But for today, these promises still remain at a distance.

These features are difficult to implement in a non ideal system and require deep and intentional user research and design thinking. Hence why these are more opportunities than realities. I do not personally know the Summit Learning software I could not log in or try the program out.

And I do not know how much of the New York Times article was true or slanted.

UX Collective

But all of the issues that the article cited are the same as what my other personalized learning clients experience too. The digital education problem is not a Chan and Zuckerberg Foundation problem. It is a design problem affecting all of education. I believe with strong human centered design and strong research, Summit Learning has the potential to reinvent how we all learn.

Dweck offers the following example…. It shows me you learned a lot! Reinforce the idea that sticking through a challenge is more rewarding and beneficial than easily completing something the child is already good at. Then, you can reward them for their grit in exerting extra effort to hone in their skill. Next, as children get older, parents and teachers should think of gradually relinquishing more and more responsibility so that children learn to fend for themselves.

Obviously younger children require more assistance from adults, but that level of assistance must evolve over time. Most importantly, when a child has a problem, parents and teachers should ask questions the child questions as to how he or she might solve it. We adults can still be supportive, but from the sideline, as overseers as children learn to address their own issues. Lastly, parents and teachers should not only welcome failure, but celebrate it. Life is all about overcoming challenges and sometimes failing is a good thing.

Everyone experiences failure in life. We have to teach children how to respond positively to it so that they can fail forward. I really like how Dr. Allen put in in her interview,.

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Sign in. Get started. Steven Hopper Follow. Age of Awareness Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the education system. Education Parenting Children Learning Society. Stories of a former high school teacher, now business consultant. Travel fanatic. Obsessed coffee drinker. And all-around nerd.

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