Happy children make happy students. Laughter breaks the monotony and endears students to their teacher. What if teachers deliberately engaged in lighter moments of mirth in class?
34. What if students could give badges to teachers?
The whole education system revolves around a hierarchical system of recognition - from teachers to students and certifying bodies to teachers and education boards to schools. What if we instead gave students the choice to certify teachers, for teachers to certify the certifiers, and for schools to certify the education boards, and perhaps the boards to certify government policies?
33. What if each student could define her own homework?
We know that no two students are alike. What if students were helped to identify their goals and given support to discover their next steps in reaching that goal?
32. What if students were awarded for asking the ‘right’ questions rather than only answering the questions given to them?
In a rote learning environment, students end up virtually learning to the test, bounded by certain kinds of questions and 'approved' or closely scoped answers. Instead, what if part of the student's evaluation consisted on evaluating the quality of questions that she would come up with?
31. What if teachers connected their students to networks of experts across the world?
A hugely successful strategy for the early MOOCs was the practice of connecting diverse practitioners and experts on the subject, to the personal network of their 'students'
30. What if teachers learned to perform to transform rather than be a guide by the side or a sage on the stage?
Teachers perhaps need to be an equal part performer who enact and 'live' the subject in their interactions with students.
29. What if teachers had to go through an effective communications course before they started teaching?
A lot of teachers may benefit from professional coaching on specifically their language and communication skills.
28. What if teachers played online games with students?
What if teachers were to actively participate in the world of games? Perhaps they would be able to profile their students better, assess their learning needs from their actions and performance on these games, engage with them better in the language they understand and weave instruction around the game contexts?
27. What if classrooms could be like Lego blocks, configurable as per the need of the lesson?
Today's classrooms largely resemble a factory mode workroom with rows of desks and chairs (and rotation of children through the year across rows, seats and partners), and the teacher at the head of the room, between the instrument of written communication, the blackboard, and the rest of the class.
26. What if school leaders (principals, heads) had to undergo specialized training and assessments before they were appointed to a leadership position?
A school leader has to have many specialized skills in order to administer and lead a school.
25. What if we neither had marks nor grades as the criteria for student performance and progression?
The decisions around progression from year to year are made around marks or grades. Where people don't like marks, they move to a grading system - but it is really between those two - we need some system to sort the wheat from the chaff, to rank and select for the next level, and marks/grades look like the logical way.
24. What if we did not educate teachers in the same ways we educate our children?
Today we expect our student teachers to be exposed to the same systems, pedagogical practices and theoretical focus that we expect our students to follow. The system generates people trained to think in the ways of the system - that does wonders for an effort to replicate at scale, but doesn't create transformation patterns.
23. What if we did not train each teacher to have the same set of skills?
When we can have differentiated career and interest options for children, why can't there be enough types of career profiles and options created for teachers?
22. What if students could choose the teachers they want to learn from?
Today the student has no choice in determining which teacher she can relate to and learn from the best. What if students were allowed to gravitate towards, not the "best" as we determine them, but the ones that they comprehend best? Can schools provide that choice, even if it is limited?
21. What if schools were really a network of small learning centers instead of one “place” of learning?
So what if schools did not teach, but instead managed a network of smaller centres that were largely autonomously led by expert teachers and counselors?
20. What if students spent one mentored school hour a week to improve their learning ability?
What if we helped students identify and analyze their learning patterns, behaviour and showed them the impact changes can make to their performance?
19. What if teachers had to take exams that tested their knowledge of the students they teach?
In the absence of any formal mechanism, it is up to individual teachers to explore how their students are, and are performing - their attitudes, skills and knowledge.
18. What if all sections of a class learned together?
Traditional classes or grade levels are divided into sections. Subject teachers are allocated to each section. Each section operates in isolation to the other.
17. What if we made teaching and learning process yield more data?
What if we made teaching and learning process yield more data? This data would cover not just scholastic and co-scholastic information, but participation in class, techniques employed, student profiles, activities and other data of classroom transactions and student behaviour?
14. What if minimum qualifications for a college teacher included a certification of teaching proficiency rather than just being a scholastic qualification it currently is?
Today, teaching in a college does not need the candidate to be certified in "teaching",
13. What if the post school tuition teacher became an integral part of the education system?
Tuition post-school hours has been looked down upon by the education system
12. What if every student got a personalized path to mastery of the concept?
What if homework was a starting point for achieving mastery through a series of learning and assessment encounters initiated by the student and facilitated by the teacher?
11. What if curriculum was mandated for teachers instead of students?
What would happen if children no longer had to follow an explicit curriculum?
10. What if employers stopped asking for degrees as a criteria for employment?
What could be other forms of evidence that could help employers select the right employee for the job? Could we apply alternate criteria to all fields?
9. What if teachers were to create a guild to manage the education system?
What if teachers were to create a guild to decide for themselves entry, performance objectives, progression and exit criteria for teachers, instead of it being decided by academic elites, bureaucrats and policy makers?
8. What if teachers decided how to assess and when to assess?
What if the were no mandated assessments by an education board?
7. What if students apprenticeship was implemented at scale?
What if students apprenticeship was implemented at scale and a significant fraction of total learning hours (say 10%)?
6. What if teachers spent 1 period a working day on sharing notes on classroom experiences?
What if teachers spent 1 period a working day on sharing notes on classroom experiences, teaching strategies, learning edTech, special improvement projects, curriculum and professional development in small or large groups?
5. What if we did not support increasing returns in Education?
Does the education system exhibit increasing returns - the rich get richer, those that have get (more)?
4. What if students (and their parents & community) created their own curriculum?
4. What if students (and their parents & community) created their own curriculum instead of having no say in its construction & delivery? How would they know?
3. What if there were no boundaries around subjects?
What if there were no boundaries around subjects and we had only topics or themes? What if the syllabus was not divided into Chapters and Topics?
2. What if school was not divided into classes and sections?
What if the school was not divided into classes and classes were not divided into sections?
1. What if the school day was not divided into fixed periods?
What if the timetable was personalized to the needs of the class?