This is the setup in any classroom on any day in any week of any year since “common school” became the accepted practice in the USA. There are other riffs on setups at higher or lower levels, but as students move from primary school to secondary school, this is the “target” setup for learning.
This is one way the classroom may look in the very near future as space and financing for new schools becomes scarce, population size becomes smaller and distance learning becomes common. A lecture series can be presented by a teacher in the area, across the country or in another part of the world to a classroom of thousands and the local teacher fine tunes the learning in a smaller group of students. Students may return individually to the lecture anytime they need to.
Because working in teams on a project may one day look like this…
Students will go to school like this:
Students will learn at their own pace–as fast or as slow as is appropriate. This student is going to school from her dining room at home. A student with questions can note them and contact the teacher at the “talk to the teacher time” or join in a class with 2-way dialogues when several students have the same question.
This is not weird. This is what happens right now whenever we do distance learning at universities or at work whenever we work in teams whose members come from multiple locations. School will resemble tutoring tailored to the specific needs and given at each individual’s learning speed. Students will then be able to be educated for MASTERY of the subject instead of being “taught to the test”, pushed along the line like a Model T Ford.
We will have to turn what we think school is on its head because the form of school I am talking about is unworkable with school as it exists right now. Watch this TED talk given by Sal Kahn and experience the founder of Kahn Academy’s take on the subject. I know some stomachs are quivering and we will talk about that next time.