The New Learning Paradigm

The other focus area for tomorrow’s Staff Development Day flows on from our exploration of Gen Y and looks at how this generation (and the ones that will follow) learn best.

Again, initial inspiration came from the North Coast Quality Teaching Conference via Mark Treadwell’s keynote address on the new Learning Paradigm. Mark Treadwell’s work can be found here.

Interestingly,  today I was encouraged to read Anne Knock‘s open letter to the Minister of Education via twitter today which urges the education system to change to meet the needs of this new paradigm. You can find this letter here.

The thrust of Mark’s address was that the time for reading and writing to be the key source for learning has had its day and in its place there is a new paradigm – multimedia formats and conceptual learning. Mark talked about how quickly we can learn a concept eg driving a car compared to learning the mechanics of reading and writing. As well, once we have learnt a concept it become automatic “like riding a bike’ whereas reading and writing has to be continually practiced and revised.

Of course, we still need reading and writing but it is how it is used that needs to change. Instead of merely for the learning of facts, it should be to highlight achieving a concept and be presented within a multimedia format. This is, after all, the medium that Geny Y and beyond will be most familiar, and comfortable, with. It also puts the focus on the end product rather than the process of getting there (see my notes on Gen Y to see why this is important).

This new method means teachers need to be facilitators and mentors rather than the fonts of all knowledge and many Baby Boomer teachers, especially, will find this shift challenging (as they already are). Teachers need to actively encourage students to collaborate, communicate and create. They need to step back and let them find their own ways to achieve the ultimate goals of greater understanding, appreciation and knowledge.

The DER is step one in achieving the shift but it is only going to be fully successful if teachers (and the systems they are in) embrace the laptops, web 2.0 tools and collaboration as well as concept learning as the new paradigm.

There are pockets of change happening in mine and every school but I am not confident that we represent the majority of teachers at this time. It will happen and one of the ways to encourage it is through presenting this new research at Staff Development Days.

Some how I think my staff will be more keen on the Gen Y session than this one….

Anyway, here’s the presentation I will be doing on the Paradigm Shift.

The Paradigm Shift


About madiganda

Head Teacher English at Coffs Harbour High School, passionate teacher and proud recipient of the 2017 ETA Premier's Teacher Scholarship. @Madiganda on Twitter
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