Spot the difference?
Whilst as a female education leader I am delighted to see that these images both display female teachers, there is a lot which is quite disheartening in a comparison of these images, though please do not look to me for a solution - a blog remember is simply an opportunity to share a view!
I often read articles or listen to conversations which identify a societal view that children and young people are so different ‘nowadays’ to how they were. They require instant gratification and answers, they no longer communicate by speaking to each other but through social media largely in broken or abbreviated messages, which is a learning curve for me every single day to decipher. Their world is a fast paced, colourful and constantly stimulated experience. Many of my peers relate that young people have little resilience and that they expect a lot of life. My response is “why shouldn’t they?” So, it is often perplexing to me to see that our learning environments have changed very little – children continue to be sat in rows, facing the front, with something to write with and on. This is despite the architecture of modern built school buildings trying to innovate with pods, breakout spaces and flexible walls to extend or reduce classroom sizes.
So is there a difference to spot? There certainly is. However, it is not necessarily about the structure of the learning space but the magic that happens in them. Over the last 20 years as a system leader, I have had the privilege to visit many classrooms up and down the country and though physically the vast majority look like this, the evolution of teaching is a fabulous thing to witness. I have seen innovation in teaching techniques, use of the science of learning, digital strategies and resources to model abstract concepts that would blow your mind – I have seen children ask the most curious questions stimulated by something they have watched on their mobile computer ie. their phone and I have seen them talk in real time to children in another part of the world to compare their geographical environments.
Though our classrooms may look the same, the constant commitment to change and improvement demonstrated by leaders, teachers and school based staff means that our classrooms are places of excitement, awe and wonder – they are amazing places to be an observer of the optimistic future of our society.
What definitely doesn’t change is December and with that the Christmas craziness – so enjoy time with learners, staff and your communities and make time for family, friends and most importantly yourself over the festive season.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Sarah Young, Young +