Monday, May 25, 2009
Just finished reading 'Disrupting Class', by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson, published by McGraw-Hill. I highly recommend this excellent book to administrators, teachers, politicians and others. The authors explain why major changes are required in public education if we are to educate every child of every parent to finish high school with the knowledge and skills needed either to go into the world of work or continue their education in the 21st century. This book appreciates the uniqueness of each student (referencing the Multiple Intelligences theory introduced by Dr. Howard Gardner) and recognises that we need to adapt instructional methods to match the learning styles of each student. Its 'disruptive innovation theory' explains why it is so difficult to move public education from its current focus on the 'class' to a new and needed focus on the 'student'. The authors' concept of a future classroom is one that incorporates technology and software to provide alternative methods and options for students to achieve the required objectives. They also encourage an environment in which students work together on projects and share and conceptualise learnings rather than memorise bits of information. Whilst this book recognises the need for flexibility within the organisation and structure of the learning environment to accomodate individual variations, it does not spell out sufficiently the need to vary time because students learn at different rates. I would not want to conclude without mentioning that the book is extremely well written and contains extensive research.