According to recent studies students in Europe don’t do as well as they used to and the interest for scientific subjects is low. Why is this? Perhaps it is because teachers aren’t up to date with modern students. Maybe it is time to realize that you can not feed students with information and think information alone will be enough to create inspiration leading to active students making research that one day will result in creative thinking for new solutions.
In the modern world it isn’t enough to learn a lot of information like how high the highest mountain in Australia is, or what the 12 first decimals of pi are. Everyone can check that sort of information on their smartphone. You are no use to anyone with just having a huge bank of information. What businessmen and scientist have to know is how to investigate and how to research; otherwise they will never come up with new ideas or solve more complex problems. Traditional teaching does not support this kind of development among students. A teacher standing by the background and students taking notes is not the way to go if we want to inspire creativity and independent problem solving.
As a teacher you must emphasize the learner’s role in constructing meaning from new information and prior experience. With the right tasks you can make students co-operate, discuss and research. When students are given the opportunity to collaborate and solve problems, however they find fit, they develop and strengthen methods like gathering information, critical thinking, applying information in new situations and presenting results. This is exactly the kind of skill set we need students to develop in our modern society. When all students are active and taking part of the lesson it is easy to create a positive atmosphere in the classroom leading to students results improve which is a big factor in developing a genuine interest in the subject.
In the modern world we need people who can solve problems, think for themselves and come up with new ideas and solutions. You can not teach someone to be creative, you can only create interest and help students grow into their potential.
In 2017-2018 I proved that this way of working increases the interest in mathematics for the students, and because of this I won Teknologiateollisuuden 100-vuotiassäätiö’s “Teacher price”. You can read all about this in my series “Are tests necessary?” in my blog.