Kids are fed up with sitting in front of screens watching teachers lecture all day. Is that a surprise?
And an even more important question: is watching a teacher lecture from a desk in a classroom really all that much better? Was it better when you were the student sitting in that desk? How many of those lectures made a meaningful difference in your life? How many of those facts do you actively remember or use regularly? How did those lectures develop your potentialities or kindle agency in you?
Now spin it back around. How many of the lectures students are fidgeting in front of today — either on-screen or in-person — will make their lives fundamentally better, more resilient, more genuinely enfranchised, or more fulfilled? Is that ratio any better than it was for you?
Most of us remember relationships, projects, team and club activities … parts of school that engaged, connected, and empowered us. So if delivered information is not primarily what we carry with us afterwards, why do we keep building schools like this?
It’s an Abilene paradox. Most students don’t really want to sit through that series of lectures, and deep down, most teachers want to do more than just deliver them. The limitations of COVID-19 have put this in even starker relief. We all hunger for something better.
But if we tear down the way school does school, what do we build instead?