This book is about how to reform the education system in American Schools. Christensen, Horn and Johnson emphasise the need for changing the paradigm completely. Christensen is an acknowledged innovation guru. In this book, he joins hands with two education experts to explain how the best practices of disruptive innovation can be applied to the school education system. More specifically, they examine how to use information technology more creatively to deliver customized education tailored to the needs of different students.
The need for a new paradigm
Schools exist to maximize human potential. They are supposed to develop the skills, capabilities and shape the attitudes of students. Schools are also supposed to help childrens think differently and encourage the development of multiple perspectives. But schools in the US are struggling to meet these lofty objectives.
Various reasons have been given to explain this phenomenon. Schools are not adequately financed. There are not enough computers in the classroom. Uninterested students and parents are another factor. But these and other factors at best offer only a partial explanation. The authors examine why the current schooling system is flawed and what can be done to improve the state of affairs.
The authors quickly make the point that what is badly needed today is a new approach to
education that emphasizes more intrinsically engaging methods of learning. If students love the process of learning itself, the battle would be won. Education would then be an intrinsically motivating experience for school students.
Applying the theories of learning The initial part of the book is devoted to theories of learning. A key point to note about learning is that we tend to learn in our own ways using different methods, different styles, and at different speeds. Each of us responds to a particular style of teaching or classroom instruction in a particular way. A one-size fits all approach can be dysfunctional.
To maximize the comfort level and minimize frustration, learning should be aligned with our intelligence. In this context, we need to redefine intelligence. It is simplistic to equate intelligence with IQ. The definition offered by well known scholar, Howard Gardner is useful here. Gardner defines intelligence as:
the ability to solve problems that one encounters in real life
the ability to generate new problems to solve
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