It seems the world gains new technologies and an abundance of knowledge at a much faster rate then education standards change to accommodate these discoveries.
Tools and technologies available to students today are much different than what was available to students just a decade ago, giving them thousands of new ways to learn. Yet school systems seem slow to integrate these education opportunities. A few teachers at Hanover High School have altered their teaching style to provide students with a plethora of ways to learn beyond the traditional classroom setting.
English teacher Michael Goodrich-Stuart and Physics teacher Daniel Bartels are among the teachers with alternate teaching styles. Physics students in Bartels classes use project based learning and are expected to integrate their physics knowledge into their other classes, projects, and life experiences. Students in Goodrich-Stuart’s classes create and perform plays to learn from what they script and from their classmates’ performances.
Bartels prefers to ask his students to work outside of the box, to prepare them to stand out in the work force they will one day enter. He tells his students that employers are not impressed by the skill of resolving problems over and over, but by people who can creatively and innovatively find new solutions. Bartels thinks beyond providing the skills needed to pass a class, to the skills the students will need to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
At first many students find the way Bartels executes his class to be a little daunting, but eventually they find that it is a very interesting and fun way to learn.
“It was foreign at the beginning of the year because I was so used to fill in the blank notes and worksheets. But then I started to like how we had hands on learning almost every class. We would throw balls in the air and calculate how high they went or launch a projectile at army men. Having these activities made learning more intriguing and helped me to understand,” senior Ellen Orie said about being in Bartels’ class last year.
Students in an English class taught by Goodrich-Stuart find themselves learning in a creative open ended way.
“Life doesn’t follow a rubric; [unlike in High School] if something can meet all the criteria on the rubric you get a good grade. But jobs don’t hand out rubrics, so I like for students to determine things for themselves,” Goodrich-Stuart said.
He gives the students the opportunity to determine things for themselves through group skits. Dividing his class in two, he provides each group with their topics and a few general ideas that they should be certain to cover, and the rest is up to them.
“I like how his class is more open, it seems how a real college class would be. Him giving pop quizzes every class puts the priority on you to make sure you prepare for class every day, which is a good skill to have for later,” junior Hannah Thompson said about Goodrich-Stuart’s class.
Teachers providing students with a different teaching style can also benefit the students with a new skill set that will help them during the later part of their lives. These teachers are ensuring that their students’ success reaches much beyond the four walls of a classroom. As the world continues to advance, how will the teachers respond to the new tools it provides? One can only hope that they will become more innovative with their teaching methods as Bartels and Goodrich-Stuart have.