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Why Creative Teaching is Essential For the Information Age

Abandoning a narrow, one-size-fits all approach to teaching would help students develop the curiosity they need to become innovators of the future.


There’s a belief in this country that every student should graduate from high school with the same standard set of knowledge. This standard curriculum is lengthy, and states spend many years—and plenty of money—creating fancy bullet-pointed lists of the subjects students are expected to know.

Sadly, the list of facts and formulas students need to perform well on a standardized test is freakishly small in comparison. And, because education policymakers have narrowed teachers' focus to these few topics, it becomes tempting to resort to drill-and-kill teaching methods that cover information in a generic, surface-level way. Unsurprisingly, instead of fostering curiosity—which is much more important in the long term than rote memorization—this approach causes students to tune out.

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Why Are Great Teachers Leaving the Classroom?

With so much focus about getting bad teachers out of the classroom, we're letting the really effective ones slip out the door.

\n\n\n\n\n Making it simpler to remove bad teachers from the classroom has been a hot topic in education reform, but policy-makers might want to shift gears and spend more time ensuring effective teachers stick around. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of teachers leave after one year, and 46 percent leave the profession before their fifth year. However, in nations with the highest results on international tests, the teacher turnover rate is only 3 percent. So what's happening with American teachers that makes them leave the classroom in droves?

In the above CNN interview, Florida high school math teacher Linda DeRegnaucourt shares why she made the difficult decision to end her 13-year career after the next school year is over. Money is definitely a factor—after all that time on the job, she only earns $38,000—but her decision to leave isn't just about the size of her paycheck. As we've heard teachers say before, she's finally had enough of the poor working conditions and unprofessional way she's treated. Now she's training to become a nurse, which will give her a $24,000 salary bump.

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Research Proves College Lectures Need to Go the Way of the Dinosaur

A recent experiment proves what we all know: Talking at college students is a terrible way of teaching.


I signed up for a calculus class my freshman year of college that had almost 100 other students. Our professor talked into the whiteboard the entire class. I had a hard time staying awake, and had pretty much no clue what was going on. Too many professors feel right at home talking at students instead of fostering an engaging and interactive learning environment. Students are expected to sit there, take notes, and find some way to stay awake. The suck-it-up-and-endure-a-mind-numbing-lecture mindset is so ingrained in college, schools even assign room names like "Lecture Hall 4".

We know anecdotally that this is a terrible way of teaching, but now a recent experiment has proved that the lecture method really does need to go the way of the dinosaur. Science reports that a team of researchers, led by physics Nobelist Carl Wieman, recently conducted experiments in classes at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver and at the University of Colorado at Boulder which proves that "students learn much better through an active, iterative process that involves working through their misconceptions with fellow students and getting immediate feedback from the instructor."

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