In a recent TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talk, now-former National Association of Independent Schools' President Pat Bassett presented on “Schools of the Future.” Rather than evoking a Jetsons’ cartoon with robots and hover crafts, the School of the Future looks and feels very much like many in our area. Such schools, Bassett claims, make five institutional shifts.
Shifting from Knowing to Doing
To move to this requires allowing others to lead. “Letting go” and allowing a student to lead is not always easy, but when teachers facilitate more student-led opportunities, it yields discovery, conviction, understanding and retention of information. Not every student experience will be a profound one, perhaps, but it will be theirs.
Shifting from teacher-centered to school-based centered
Moving to this requires a school to surround students with top-notch, highly intelligent professionals with approachable and relatable teaching styles. With talented teachers and a keen sense of big-picture goals, Schools of the Future can provide an academically rigorous curriculum while celebrating students' individual differences.
Shifting From Individual To Team
American culture and education celebrate the individual, but Schools of the Future value both the individual and the results of understanding and working with others. This necessitates daily practice—in classrooms, on fields, on stages and on playgrounds—and requires much vigilance, yet the positive results are infinite.
shifting from consumption of information to construction of meaning
Moving to a constructivism approach requires shifting from a passive, almost enabling learning style to actively constructing meaning from information provided. Given the chance to really learn (i.e., given time, patience, encouragement, and opportunity for repetition), children build confidence. It is time-consuming but powerful.
shifting from school systems to Network systems
This shift requires deepening relationships with the community beyond the classroom. As this happens, students understand the connection to their schools reach far beyond what goes on Monday through Friday. This serves as a launch to the bigger world and the role they can play within it.
the sanford school experience
Sanford's approach to learning applies these principles to preparing our children and building a school that will serve future generations well. Our school is a student-centered, inclusive community to provide the best educational experience.
Libbie Zimmer is the Head of Lower School at Sanford School, a preschool - 12 private