Monday, June 15, 2015

K-12 -- Rethinking the Roles of Teachers -- Shifting from Teacher Centered to Student Centered Learning

 According to Johnson, Becker, Estrada, and Freeman (2014), K-12 classrooms are starting to shift from traditional to "flipped" classrooms.

 These "flipped" classrooms allow for teachers to move class time instruction to high order thinking skills. Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification guide for learning outcomes that is widely used by K-12 educators. These classifications work from lowest level thinking skills (at the bottom) to highest level thinking skills (at the top). The K-12 system has been highly criticized for its emphasis on standardized testing because of its unprecedented accountability requirements set into motion by the No Child Left Behind legislation of 2001 (Goodman, Shannon, Goodman, & Rapaport, 2004). Therefore, current Common Core pressure has been on increasing higher order thinking skill building to combat the perception that students have been taught how to test and have not learned content or thinking skills.

  The goal of flipping classrooms is to begin to move classroom time from lecture based activities to higher order thinking tasks such as group activities, discussions, and student centered learning.

Bloom's Taxonomy's original triangle shows Remembering as the base of the pyramid, but it has also been flipped as the role of teachers is evolving. As the impetus of learning is shifting in the classroom from teacher to student, so too is the time spent in the classroom on the specific thinking skills. As the teacher was the center of learning, more time was spent on remember and understanding level thinking skills in the traditional classroom.

In flipped and more student centered classrooms, less time is spent in the remembering and understanding levels of thinking skills (names, dates, phonics, low level activities). As students assume more responsibility for learning, more time is spent on applying learning and analyzing and evaluating that learning to find deeper levels of synthesis and even debating the truth or bias of research in the evaluating level. In science, the creating level might have students creating multi-variable experiments and carrying those out over a period of time and even sharing those results with local stakeholders. Through the use of student centered classrooms, student engagement is increased and the use of technology and tools become integral pieces of equipment that assist and deepen the learning. This type of real life learning is termed authentic learning and is one of the solvable challenges shared in the Horizon Report.

Goodman, K., Shannon, P., Goodman, Y., and Rapaport, R. (2004) Saving our schools: The case for public education saying no to "No child left behind". Georgetown, Ontario: Jaguar Book Group.
Johnson, L., Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2014). The horizon report (K-12 ed.). Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

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