May 24, 2011

Different paths, same outcome

Give four construction teams the exact same blueprint and identical step-by-step instructions, and they will likely build identical houses. This is how learning works in the traditional classroom.

The old-school way

A traditional teacher either lectures while students take notes or asks the students to copy instructions verbatim from a blackboard or overhead transparency. A task is given -- often in the form of a worksheet. Students are to apply the notes to the task, and each individual should reach the same result.

Of course, we know they rarely meet the objective, because they have no interest in a boring task, driven by rote memory. No thinking is necessary.

The ROLE way

A results-only classroom is different. In most cases, students work in small groups, and each group will choose a different path.  The final result of all groups may even look different, but the same learning outcome will be met by all individuals. They reach the objective through collaboration, autonomy and creativity. By choosing their own path, they build something unique, while real learning takes place.

What paths are your students taking?