Classrooms are Irrelevant (But Schools Aren’t)

ApexOn April 10, 2008, the Economist ran an article entitled “The New Oases: Nomadism Changes Buildings, Cities and Traffic”

I only discovered it because of the book I am currently reading, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel.

I couldn’t help but see how this passage could be applied to our schools and classrooms. I think it is something we need to look closely at.  We are at an apex in our daily lives where we could continue on the way we always have, or make a sharp turn and end up in a better, more logical place.

Read this quotation and think of how it could be applied to our schools.

“The fact that people are no longer tied to specific places for functions such as studying or learning, says Mr. Mitchell, means that there is a ‘huge drop in demand for traditional, private, enclosed spaces’ such as offices or classrooms, and simultaneously a huge rise in demand for semi-public spaces that can be informally appropriated to ad-hoc workspaces. This shift, he thinks, amounts to the biggest change in architecture in this century.”

I want to run with this quotation because if we truly are no longer tied to specific places, does our current way of managing schools still make sense?

Here are my thoughts . . .

1) Don’t Assign Students to Specific Classrooms

Students should feel free to work where they want to in the school environment.

2) Develop a plan with a Specific Teacher and Be Held Accountable

I think students could soar to new heights academically if given more freedom in school. Now I know that there are detractors out there who believe that kids are lazy and wouldn’t do anything if we given them freedom in school.

The truth is, there are a great number of students completely unengaged in their current school work. It doesn’t speak to them and seems useless and trivial. I know that I don’t want to do busy-work. Why would my students?

3) Let’s Try Something New

Can we redesign school spaces and throw the current operating and organizational practices out the window?

Schools should be a place of learning that engages students and makes them want to strive to accomplish great things academically. Our schools, for the most part, don’t do that.

I know I want change. I think our students do too. It’s time to have this discussion.

Any thoughts?  

Please share them with a comment below or on Twitter with the hashtag #RedefineSchool

It’s time to turn a corner and to do so smartly!

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