SMU to help study new ways of teaching
SMU's Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) will take part in a five-year study examining how elementary school classrooms can become more playful.
- The study will focus on under-resourced schools around the country, including in Dallas.
Why it matters: The basic model for teaching elementary students — one teacher talking to 20-30 kids — hasn't changed much over the last few centuries. Academics call it the "sage on a stage" approach.
The big picture: SMU is one of seven universities participating in the "Learning Through Play" study, which will be led by Temple University in Philadelphia and funded by roughly $20 million from the LEGO Foundation.
- The project aims to develop a way of teaching that fosters children's creativity, critical thinking, communication skills and confidence.
- And in a future where AI will be able to handle a broad scope of tasks, a student's ability to memorize and recite facts won't help build the skills needed to thrive.
What's happening: Researchers will work with dozens of teachers to build customized lesson plans for pre-K through fourth grade, with the goal of making learning more playful and collaborative.
- Through classroom observation and a series of teacher surveys, researchers will evaluate how the teaching process changed, whether classrooms became more playful, and whether students engaged in deeper learning.
- SMU's team, led by CORE executive director Annie Wright, will coordinate all research activities for the project and consult with the national team on school partnerships and parent engagement.
What they're saying: "We have to be partners with our teachers and schools in order for [the study] to be embraced and implemented with integrity," Wright tells Axios.
What's next: A pilot study is scheduled for the 2023-2024 academic year. The full study will begin in the 2024-2025 school year.
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