Hayes Jacobs encourages teachers to step outside their comfort zones


Video link

The international curriculum expert used her closing keynote at EduTECH 2015 to share this poignant idea with the educators in the room.
Hayes Jacobs, who was also our current TechnologyEd cover star, says the transition to the ‘future school’ requires bold moves, practical steps and rebooted missions.
She has written at length about her concerns that some schools still place far too much emphasis on old-style assessment, an idea that she also shared with the delegates at the conference.



"People make decisions out of habit ... just because we’re used to something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing,” she says.
According to Hayes Jacobs, one of her biggest concerns is that just because students have access to a range of technological tools, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are literate learners.
“Our students can access tools but that doesn’t mean they know how to dive deep,” she says.
Encouraging all of the delegates to keep their individual students in mind throughout her presentation, Hayes Jacobs explains that the kids need to become learning experts, and in turn, they need teachers who are literate self-navigators.
One thing that restricts this, according to Hayes Jacobs, is the whole idea of a traditional classroom.
“The problem with the self-contained classroom is it’s been around for a long time and it contains us!”
She then showed a series of images of different classrooms from around the world, modelling personalised learning environments and collaborative work stations.
“Every school needs a green room!” Hayes Jacobs exclaims.
Using Finland as an example, Hayes Jacobs says the Nordic country has made a commitment that by September 2016, all schools will be going to back off the teaching of subjects, and instruct on issues or topics instead.
While she says it’s easy for those present in the room to hear these ideas and think ‘I couldn’t ever do that’, she encouraged delegates to step outside of their comfort zones and try something new.
"Modelling is obviously the very strongest of all teaching exercises," Hayes Jacobs says.
“We need to think, is this preparing [students] for the future or are we doing a good job of preserving the past?”