In looking at the model I wanted to consider the foundation it is built upon, (see above paragraph), the analytic power it provides, and lastly what I believe is missing. Logically, I think this method works. It gives easy to understand objectives, or end lines, one needs to reach before moving on. This method is already being used, and for many reasons it’s successful. For one, it is easier to achieve a goal if a set destination is before you. It is also very easy to comprehend, as both teachers and students alike are given outcomes, and then have paths to follow to get there. Parents too like this, as when they send their child to school they know what they need to accomplish.
However, I am claiming that this model does not support the 21st century classroom. Constantly, we are hearing change is needed to stop teaching the “traditional” style, yet this framework philosophy still places objectives ahead of the individual.
Educators who believe a switch to a “new-age” classroom are using authors like the Daniel Pink, Angela Maiers, Brene Brown, David Robertson, Dave Burgess, Myron Dueck, just to name a few, to reshape their pedagogy. Despite this, they are forced to continue with status quo, where a final destination is more important than the process.
While Daniel Pink preaches autonomy, mastery and purpose to engage students, this principle continues to claim engagement is secondary to the outcome. Angela Maiers wants “habitudes” of imagination, adaptability, curiosity but again the framework restricts these. Once again, reaching an outcome and assessment is more important than the student learning and the teacher delivering.
So then why do we create a final destination? Why can’t we have students create and hand in their own objectives and then become accountable in following their own pre-made paths? Why have an end point, when we have so much diversity in our classrooms? An analogy I use (living in B.C. Canada) is that there are many ways to Vancouver, which is the end point. With the backwards design principle; they do give some leeway and choice as long as you get to Vancouver. But what if you either have no way to get there or frankly don’t want to go there? What if instead your passion and ability have inclined you to travel east to Kamloops. Well with the backwards design principle, unfortunately you are just out of luck. Here is where you get kids feeling undervalued and unworthy. These kids who succeed heading east struggle academically are not engaged, become passionless and compliant, and then in worst case scenario flunk out of school. Einstein said it best when he said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I agree with the amazing authors guiding our 21st century pedagogy. I believe that students of this era need to have choice and autonomy. I believe they need to be imaginative and curious of the world they live in. I believe that a new framework needs to be developed that starts with the student and their passions, rather than have that at the bottom of the pecking order. Doing this will create more diverse, ENGAGED, VALUED life-long learners. Because in this 21st century, isn’t it about the process of learning, and not covering objectives?