Textbooks are becoming irrelevant

Textbooks are going to remain a key part of learning. They just need to go digital, become more interactive and they need more analytics. – Osman Rashid

I love watching thrillers, when I watch them when a monumental scene occurs that has far reaching effects to the movie or show, I mull over every detail about the characters  and the theme of the movie/show. It is the same when an accident occurs, we examine every detail about the incident. Yet, when students are unable to learn, we ignore investigating the details around their instructional design.

If an education system fails to ensure that all six year olds can read the rudimentary sentence ” The name of the girl is Rose” and all eight year olds find the solution to  two digit subtraction problem like 55 minus 16.  This means that we need to take apart our readings and Mathematics instructional designs.

Being on top of great instructional design – working out the details of fashioning a car or building a building – are quite serious to be left to mere chance or guesswork. Having clarity about what are excellent practices.

Direct Instruction (DI) is definitely the most empirically-validated form of designed pedagogy, its setup to teach subjects effectively enabling students learn  the material in the barest amount of time.

 In studying this form of pedagogy, one realizes the pervasiveness of textbooks and how they undermine efforts to reform learning.

Majority of the current textbooks we have right now,  don’t have learning goals as the centerpiece.  The textbooks  don’t  focus on students mastering each learning goal. The textbook’s  approach is not precise enough to ensure that all students their learning goals. It guesses at the number of trials required to master material and  is mostly inadequate because  the answer requires testing, research demonstrating the benefits of practice distributed over time

What aids retention over a long period is when  previously learned material is periodically reexamined and skillful. The trouble with most textbooks is that information from one chapter is doesn’t get reassessed in successive chapters.

So how to fix the malfunctioned state of most of our current textbooks?

Review materials from previous lessons across the books. The problem with broken textbooks is from lesson to lesson and chapter to chapter they move on to new learning goals without ever revisiting the old ones.

What galls me the most is how easily these textbooks are discarded after each term or school year by most schools. The sheer waste is appalling, all of that paper and the volume of content within them. Imagine if they were digitalized, thereby easier to edit and adjust. Portability becomes easier and there is less waste created from discarded books.

We need major improvement in our current textbooks model to ensure that our learning outcomes for our children are those that enable them to be the successful, well rounded and adjusted adults we all desire they become.

Adetola Salau; Global Educator / International Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur/ Innovative Thinker/Future Readiness Advocate/ STEM Certified Trainer

She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness.

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