Agile is a Pathway to Being Future-Ready Educators | Jessica Cavallaro | 8 Min Read

September 19, 2022

It’s early fall and each school has communicated to teachers, students, and parents how this year will be better than the past. 

Small changes have been made to the scope and sequence, perhaps there is new professional development offered on formative assessments: a fresh coat of paint on an old car. New technology has been bought for thousands of dollars and soon an already overburdened faculty will be trained on new platforms, systems, and apps—all of these modifications designed to bring the future to the classroom. 

In education, there is a huge emphasis on teaching students to be future-ready. To most, this means one-to-one devices, learning how to code, new robotics clubs, and opportunities to use virtual reality (VR).  These changes to the classroom are focused on building more adaptable students who are prepared to work with new technologies and make learning more engaging and efficient. All of these updates will benefit students, but few will enable higher levels of preparedness for a future where basic work can be automated and human-based skills are essential.  Unfortunately, the way that the majority of time is spent in the classroom will not change and that will prevent our students from truly being ready for the future.

After all the money is spent and the faculty has been trained, students enter into classrooms still eerily similar to the classrooms that we once wandered into. There are rows of desks, guided notes, and PowerPoint presentations of lectures. In a classroom like this students are expected to be passive in their learning. They come in at the right time, sit in a place they did not choose, and are expected to be quiet and polite while someone else tells them what they need to know. They have no agency in their learning or autonomy in their space. They are cogs in the machine of education. 

This way of learning is not natural, nor does it prepare students for the future. Even when computers are being used, or new apps are selected to drill content, the lack of agency and engagement is prevalent. Students are doing work to play the game of education, but the learning is not intrinsic or purposeful. Students do not know the purpose of the content they are learning or how it applies to their lives. They do the work because they want the grade, learning nothing but…

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Jessica Cavallaro

Jessica Cavallaro is the co-founder of The Agile Mind, which interweaves Agile frameworks into K-12 education. She is passionate about the benefits of project based learning and creating purposeful education to drive innovation through inquiry. She is an advocate for developing systems that give students agency. Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree at Pace University and Master’s in Education from Mercy College.