I never thought about being a teacher. The truth is I never really liked going to class. Not because I wasn’t curious or interested, but it wasn’t my way of learning. I always learned more by experimenting. Nowadays I teach in 3 countries, in some of the best schools. It’s a passion and one of my ways to contribute to a better future. However, the world has changed, but education has not kept pace.
There are many examples. We segment the students by age, they are x years old, so they go to school, and we can’t let anyone fail because it “demotivates” them. And everyone has to learn in the same way. This segmentation no longer makes sense, since technology allows us to understand the learning process for each student, in the best and most appropriate way and at their own pace.
We instill in the students that the goal is also not only to learn, but to get good grades in the exams, and since we ourselves learn this way, we think it is normal. How many parents are more concerned about what their children learn than about their grades?
The classroom should also be a space for discussion and exchange of ideas. Classes where students listen to a boring monologue from a teacher are meaningless. It is much better if students have multimedia materials and exercises to learn the basics and theory and come to class with a minimum level, this is called adaptive education.
Memory is another archaic concept. I remember having to memorize the capitals of the world because it was general culture (used to justify a lot of irrelevant knowledge). It might even have made sense given that information until recently was in boring libraries, difficult to consult. Nowadays we all have almost all the knowledge of humanity on our cell phones. More than memorizing, we have to prepare students to deal with data. This means collecting information (and from credible sources), structuring, and analyzing it, and finally making decisions about it.
It is expected that in the next 20 years about 40 to 60 percent of today’s jobs may disappear. We have to prepare students to learn, to change, and to be complete human beings. And not just the “young” ones, one must be a student all one’s life. Getting the “straw”, as they say, at 22 and never studying again doesn’t work. Who wants to be treated by a doctor who hasn’t updated in 30 years?
All of this has to be done without neglecting discipline and rigor. Contrary to many who advocate the concept of millennials (which I understand is a story someone made up to sell marketing books), hard work and discipline are a big component of success.