Education and Change


This week’s guiding questions for this blog post

  • Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways? 
  • What sort of world are we preparing students for?
  • What sort of education or education system will be needed to adequately prepare students for the world ahead?
  • Is it possible to change our educational system, or is it more likely that the system will be replaced by other forms of education?
  • What does citizenship look like in this future reality?

I know these loaded questions can stir up some lively debates regarding the education sector. I know when I read the questions, several thoughts came flooding in. However, I am looking to take a mild approach at answering them. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and check out my classmates’ blogs for their approach!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways? 
I am unsure if schools really “need” to change in the sense of what they achieve and have achieved for many years. There is always room for educators to explore different perspectives regarding teaching strategies/models within our schools. However, there are certain expectations that guide teachers within their division/province/state/country. If there were going to be changes made to the education sector, the curriculum would make the most significant impact. As our modern world advances, some of the curricula will become outdated. The curriculum is a guiding resource for what is being taught in our schools and therefore could provide the biggest change in schools. 


What world are we or what world should we be preparing our students for?
This is a challenging question because we can only prepare ourselves and our students for what we know or anticipate within a realistic realm of possibilities. As educators, we need to maintain some realism in what our students may encounter in a future world. An example would be still having driver training available for teenagers. Although self-driving cars are on the market and may continue to grow in popularity, there is still a need for basic skills and understanding. Currently, we are preparing students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and how to navigate through a world that is always connected. We teach them how to be good neighbours, community members, and maintain that same reputation online.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog!

Durston McKenna

5 thoughts on “Education and Change

  1. I too found this week trick to write about. Did I have a lot to say? Sure did. Did I also take a more ‘mild’ approach, yup, sure did! I know that all those that behaved in history didn’t make ripples, great changes, and shaped the world that we live in today. However, I am not currently in a position yet job stability-wise (or so in my opinion) to be a radical just yet. Maybe as I age, and feel more well-versed and grounded in theory, etc. I will too be able to misbehave a bit for the sake of history. Cheers to sharing your thoughts, when I know it probably took a bit to bite your tongue for the sake of stability.

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    • I wish I could reply with a GIF!
      But Kelly I agree with you completely. Real change happens from conversation, however, I am aware that statements can be taken out of context and I wouldn’t want that to happen currently. Maybe one day when I’m older! I’d love to be on the side of positive change and I think we all would be, it is probably a contributing factor of why we got into the world of education. As the saying goes, we didn’t get into it for the pay! I would like to influence positive change through thought-provoking conversation rather than my radical views on what education could be.
      This makes me think of the book “The Giver” because it always leads to the conversation about a Utopia. In a class of 20 if you asked everyone to write up their perfect Utopia no one “perfect world” is the same. I have to think the same is true of my views surrounding education. I think there is a place in the middle where everyone is functional and working together for the greater good. I hope through my blog and soon our podcast we will be able to spark a few teachers/admin to think differently on how they could implement steps to ensure success for our students moving forward in this plugged-in world!

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  2. I love your analogy of self-driving cars! We have minimum requirements for certain tasks in society and I completely agree that having the ability and know-how to drive a vehicle is crucial if you are sitting behind the wheel of a self-driving one. Sort of like writing and typing – which still blows my mind that we do not have typing requirements in this day in age! I had 4 computers in the classroom in elementary (which was huge!) and we had to perfect our typing. Something that I am very grateful for today!

    I agree that the curriculum needs to be updated. Elementary curricula are more recent, however many of the secondary/high school documents are older than I am. Surely new information and better content have been developed in the last 30 years! I think the two key pieces in allowing education to evolve and continue to be relevant will be updated curriculum documents and better technology integration in the classroom. Even coming from someone who has 1:1 devices for my students, I still feel that collectively the education sector is to bar behind in the times when it comes to digital literacies, competencies, and tech integration!

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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    • Your 4 computer comments takes me instantly back to the Sun computer days! They were slow, but I agree we had to ensure that we were perfect scores on all the right type! I think a program like that still has a place in the modern world. I’d love to see a push for proper typing in grades 4 and 5. I think schools could achieve this with a focus from staff in classrooms taking 20-30 mins a week to work on proper technique and then implement some games into it like nitro typing. A school-wide challenge on words per minute could give some incentive as well. A way to make a basic skill fun seems to be the answer!

      It is an interesting look at High school to Elementary just the way they function in general. As someone who has subbed in both, but worked primarily in the middle years world I always enjoy the debates I have with my high school colleagues. I agree the curriculum needs an update, and I can only imagine that comes down to money. The shift I would love to see become a norm in Saskatchewan would be a Jr. High. Providing students the opportunity to change buildings, responsibilities, and expectations before high school would be a benefit to everyone. The shift not only in curriculum but expectations from elementary to high school are quite different and I would love to see a gradual increase for the students rather than a steep shift.

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  3. Durston, for taking a mild approach you seemed to have prompted some good conversation. I completely agree that an education utopia does not exist since all stakeholders in education have their own thoughts, opinions, and fantasies of what education should be. Education is in constant evolution given access to knowledge and advancements in technology, yet it sometimes feels like education is not evolving at all. I tried to work on typing with my grade 7/8 students and many found it difficult and frustrating because they are so used to typing with just their index fingers and thumbs. Additionally, many of them found that their fingers weren’t “strong” enough or didn’t have the dexterity to type, but many improved with practice. It leaves me to ask the question, “What basic skills are considered essential?” Although I think typing is an important basic skill, others might find it to be an obsolete skill given the option of speech to text.

    Thank-you to everyone for sharing your thoughts and for the interesting conversations!

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