This semester in CEP 812 we were asked to join a think tank and to address a “wicked problem”. Some of my colleagues and I decided that we would address the problem of rethinking teaching. Our discussions took us in several different directions, and it did not take us long to see that this is a truly wicked problem.
I think that in our current climate there is a push to rethink the way that we teach, and that progress has been made; however, it is slow progress. In thinking about this problem our think tank discussed the following issues:
1. Teacher Preparation Programs Are Outdated
As education changes teachers are finding themselves in a role of coach or facilitator as opposed to the old-school sage on the stage approach that many older millennials grew up with; however, teacher education programs have remained largely unchanged (Mendez, 2014).
2. Our School Buildings Are Outdated
There is a push within education to help students acquire 21st century skills; however, we are stuck teaching in buildings, classrooms, and learning spaces that were designed with a 19th century mindset (Stevens, 2012).
3. Our Current Teacher Evaluation System Is Ineffective
There is currently a movement within the federal and state governments to increasingly tie teacher evaluations with test scores. There are a variety of influencing factors that determine how successful a student is on a test, and teacher evaluations are not necessarily an accurate reflection on the quality of classroom instruction (O’Connor, 2014).
The below infographic illustrates these points:
After deeply discussing our wicked problem, we were asked to try to solve this problem. You can read what our think tank came up with here!
Mendez, M. G. (2014, Jan). Update teacher prep models and outdated classrooms.Miami Times Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/docview/1501553303?accountid=12598
O’Connor, J. (2014). Two New Studies Find Problems With Teacher Evaluations. StateImpact. Retrieved from https://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2014/05/13/two-new-studies-find-problems-with-teacher-evaluations/
Stevens, M. (2012). 21st Century Learner. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/46989.htm