A Paradigm Shift in Education

January 15, 2019

In many cases, technology moves so fast that we’re not able to keep up. However, this isn’t happening with new generations. They grow up with a bottle in one hand and a tablet in the other. The education system isn’t serving them any longer. Thus, it’s time for a paradigm shift in education.

It’s not that some sectors of society are more interested in change than others. Instead, our children and youth have provoked this change. Their way of understanding and relating to the world has changed. An education system that doesn’t advance quickly enough with the virtual, but very real, world, can be a waste for time for students. And they can never get that time back.

What kind of paradigm shift in education are we talking about?

The traditional linear education system just doesn’t cut it anymore. For the past few years, we’ve felt the changes coming, but they hadn’t taken shape. People blame teachers, parents, and the children themselves. The drop-out rate is extremely high. Children are getting bored in class.

We aren’t talking about small adjustments or adding something on to what already exists. We’re talking about profound changes at an institutional level. Changes in the way that teachers share information and changes in how students receive it.

Not only that, but we need to change the values that we teach our students and the way that students acquire certain skills. Those things weren’t a priority in the traditional educational system. Nevertheless, our young people will need these skills in their adult life.

A teacher reading to her students.

Linear education vs. horizontal education

Our kids today learn more on the Internet and with their friends than in classrooms. The teachers no longer have all the information. They can find information on screens and applications. Kids know how to look for information when they’re interested in something. Thus, they don’t have to wait for someone to teach it to them.

In the coming years, we’ll probably see some profound changes in the role teachers play. In today’s world, students need teachers who guide them, not teachers who share information that they already have.

Linear education is based on the transmission of information that is totally disconnected from any emotional meaning. This type of education assumes that the child is ignorant and partially “unfinished” and that the teacher has to complete them. It emphasizes the difference between teacher and student. There is no dialogue, no creativity. Learning is volatile, and the student is relatively passive.

The new horizontal education trends propose a student-led experience where the students seek knowledge. It argues that the student is capable of critical thought and that learning-by-doing is crucial. Thus, the teachers should focus more on competency than content. The educator must know how to solve learning situations.

Emotions and motivation

We now have proof of something that we’ve suspected for a long time. Positive emotions improve your comprehension and memory. They also encourage learning. Emotions encourage learning because they reinforce synaptic connections and neuronal network activity.

Consequently, neuroeducation is a valuable tool that can help teachers develop their students’ skills and talents. That, in turn, will facilitate the learning process. If teachers understand how the brain works and how it relates to behavior and learning patterns, everyone wins.

It’s also very positive for educators to know how the brain works, controls emotions, and processes information. The era of planning classes based on textbooks is on its way to extinction.

Facing the challenges of the 21st century

There is a serious deficit of trained professionals that meet modern business needs. Our job market has changed significantly. Our old education system is based on the industrial revolution and the labor needs of that system. We can’t raise our kids that way anymore since the labor market needs people with different skills. Instead of knowing how to do one thing well, businesses need people who can innovate intelligently.

Creativity, teamwork, conflict resolution, critical thinking, leadership ability, and innovative ideas are things that businesses are looking for in people’s resumes. Consequently, it’s important to study the right thing and be capable of doing a lot of things. That’s the only way you’ll be able to face the future. A paradigm shift in education is on the horizon, can you feel it?

  • Krumm G.L, Filippetti V.A, Bustos D. (2014). Inteligencia y creatividad: correlatos entre los constructos a través de dos estudios empíricos. Universitas Psychologica.