Conventional departures from school work

School work has always included departures from covering the material, cramming the textbook and teaching the test. Each of these familiar departures have proven to be sustaining innovations that kept the existing school systems in place:
  • Problem-based learning, solving cases, responding to unresolved situations
  • Inquiry-based learning, teaching the questions, rewarding curiosity
  • Scenario-based learning, immersing in roles, acting as if the challenges are real
  • Project-based learning, generating content, inventing ways to express an idea
  • Travel-based learning, taking field trips, exploring unfamiliar contexts,
  • Tutor-based learning, getting individualized attention, troubleshooting misunderstandings
  • Team-based learning, collaborating on problems, inquiries, scenarios or projects
All of these departures require talented teachers who know how the topic being studied:
  • applies to varied situations
  • gets into trouble sometimes
  • takes refinements to apply effectively
  • works best in combination is another expertise
When teachers lack these capabilities, the class's departure from conventional cramming is canceled. The system is dependent on the authority figure in control of the content, activities, pace and changes in the school work. One potential driver away from this dependency on teachers is already evident in work settings. Organizations are relying more on servant leaders of self-managed teams. The teams get the work done internally and rely on the "former supervisor" to get answers for the team, present their case to higher ups, orchestrate cooperation with other teams and provide a sounding board for troublesome issues.

Schools are usually the last to adopt an innovation, long after the chasm has been crossed, the market has flipped for the disruption and widespread adoption has occurred. Online college courses now depend on email, threaded discussion lists and newsgroups that were all the rage ten years ago. It's possible the schools will adopt self-directed work teams once they are obsolesced in work settings.

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