Monday, May 19, 2014

Paradigm Shift

Blogging can be both a way to share information, as well as a way to reflect on the part of the blogger. It is a little unnerving to use this blog as a way to reflect on potential dissertation topics, but I'm doing so much reading lately. This forum can serve as a way to both share and reflect. And if I get feedback and ideas in the process, even better.

I am currently going back to read an oldie but goodie, New Literacies: Changing Knowledge and Classroom Learning by Lankshear and Knobel (2003). Perhaps the area I am struggling with the most, as an instructional coach, is the paradigm shift of the 'deep grammar of school' (i.e. teacher-centered classrooms) to thinking about a statement like this:

‘for perhaps the first time in human history, new technologies have amplified the capacities and skills of the young to such an extent that many conventional assumptions about curriculum [and pedagogy] become inappropriate’ (Lankshear and Bigum 1999:460)

I realize that the implementation of the Iowa Core should potentially help teachers see the value of teaching with a student-center in mind. Implementing the Universal Constructs and the Eight Standards for Mathematical Practice will definitely help boost students skills in the areas that they will need to function well in an information-rich society.  Yet in an age of accountability to standardized testing, how many teachers will focus on a checklist of Standards, Benchmarks, and Objectives (SBOs) that they will feel compelled to 'cover' rather than focus on the deep learning processes of the former? Until we show teachers that by using the former, students will gain conceptual understanding of the SBOs. This will take master teachers who are willing to let go of teacher-centered classrooms, giving students more control over their learning. This is uncomfortable for many teachers who have been educated in a much different manner.

We live in exciting and frightening times. The world is changing more rapidly than in any other time in history. Keeping up in the educational world means guessing what the future might hold for our students. This will continue to be uneasy times for educators.


Lankshear, C., and Knobel, M. (2003). New Literacies: Changing Knowledge and Classroom Learning. NY: Two Penn Plaza.