tajatajataja.com - teaching excellence
REDEFINING TEACHING - REDEFINING TEACHERS
Our Taja® observations show that university pupils in today's world are psychologically different than yesteryear.
Their life revolves around BURSTS - CHOICE - MENTAL LOOPS.
They're into engaging - disengaging - and reengaging again.
That's the way it works for them. That's the way their minds are working.
These are our empirical observation from and in the classroom.
Our classes/classrooms today, are like dungeons.
BORING. BORING. BORING.
Void of vibrancy, oxygen, movement, dynamics and energy.
The consequence is of course- a classroom where there is no creative thinking, no questioning, no critical thinking. No inquisitive minds.
How could it be otherwise? ... The causes and conditions for creativeness, inquisitiveness, challenging the teacher and critical thought to happen and be expressed aren't in place... the classroom is boring, stale, and oxygenless. It's a dungeon. A colorless dungeon.
The kids consequently just tune out no matter how many incremental or evolutionary changes we as teachers and administrators initiate!
Every teacher's basic job is to captivate, engage, intellectually stimulate, INSPIRE, teach and lead their students forward.
That's not happening on a wide scale and it hasn't systematically been happening across the board in most classrooms nor in most schools for the past 75+ years.
One teacher alone in a classroom on average cannot do that with more than maybe one or two students per classroom... AND that's a big maybe too.
The one classroom/one teacher teaching paradigm itself is the cause for this not happening.
This is what we at Taja® are claiming. It's a STRUCTURAL PROBLEM OF THE PARADIGM ITSELF.
"The problem in our educational systems is not a question of more or less technology in the classroom, smaller classroom sizes, cooperative or theme based learning, testing and assessment procedures, curriculums, or funding issues. All of that is misreading the fundamental issue. The problem is not even the teachers themselves. The fundamental problem is the teaching system itself, the one classroom-one teacher paradigm. Change that and you'll see a dramatic swift improvement in the quality of education in your school."
Do you get it now???
Is this clear to you now??
The answer to the 21st century challenges we are exposing below (and in the previous three pages and in the following page) isn't to resist, fight, fear or demeanor the change which we have identified, and which we believe requires a response now, not in a decade or two.
The answer is to take advantage of the obvious change in our students psychological, emotional and behavioral makeup.
The answer is to absorb it and set up the teaching system in a new paradigm that builds on the change.
This does not mean we need to
- Change the curriculums or invent new curriculums.
- Demand teachers have a Master degree or a PhD nor...
- Upgrade technology in the classroom.
This also does not mean we need to
- Discipline the students more.
- Make class sizes smaller nor...
- Focus on diet and exercise to support and enhance the learning capacity of our students nor...
- Give more time off, i.e., longer breaks
between lessons or during lessons.
The answer is to mimic it...
A fundamental change is taking place in our STUDENTS minds. In their psychological and behavioral makeup.
And it is happening right before our very own eyes... bursts, choice, mental loops... engage, disengage, reengage again... and this change HAS profound long term implications for the teaching-learning experiences far into the 21st century.
Have you noticed it in your pupils at your school?
Have you noticed it in your own kids at home?
Your university students are just much further along in the process.
But not more deeply entrenched in it than
your own kids. Research is showing us the writing on the
But the same process that is happening to them, is happening to you, and the kids too.
Video games, music videos, the internet, smartphones, apps, and social networking are contributing to the changing mental, psychological, emotional and behavioral makeup of our children.
These technological innovations are not the only reason for the severe mental psychological changes which college counseling centers across America are witnessing today. Other obvious contributing factors include drugs, alcohol, social stress, economic devastation, the breakdown of the nucleus family, addictions, etc., ... nonetheless in our work, in discussing the teaching-learning paradigm, they are fundamental and a key for understanding why the 150 year old teaching paradigm which schools and teachers are sacked with is totally inadequate in today's fast moving world.
Our conclusion is that the one teacher/one classroom paradigm is inferior to the two teacher/one classroom paradigm. Two are far above one. A two teacher classroom, with two Taja trained teachers, is a superior system and is very relevant if we intend to successfully meet our students head on, and reengage them. The one teacher/one classroom paradigm cannot reengage. There is no time, no space, no opportunity in the classroom. But the two teacher Taja system can reengage, and does, consistently.
And TAJA® is not alone in noticing these changes...
The behavioral change in our students psychological makeup which we are discussing in this page and the next is already apparent in the workplace. Academics and scientists are becoming increasingly interested in the effects of technology in the workplace. This is perhaps because there is relatively little research available about the impact of websites like Twitter and Facebook for example.
New research is showing us that the attention span of workers in the workplace is becoming shallower and shorter...
Professor Gloria Mark of the Department of Informatics at the University of California says email, social media, notifications and countless other digital distractions are eroding our ability to concentrate on individual tasks in the 21st century.
"Back in 2004 we followed American information workers around with stopwatches and timed every action," she says...
"They switched their attention every three minutes (180 seconds) on average.
In 2012, we found that the time spent on one computer screen before switching to another computer screen was one minute 15 seconds (75 seconds).
By the summer of 2014 it was an average of 59.5 seconds." Source
Furthermore, research into porn and video games
played and watched by men has led to some disturbing conclusions too.
Psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University Phillip Zimbardo has made warnings, which form a major part of his latest book, Man (Dis)Connected, which include "What I'm saying is - boys' brains are becoming digitally rewired." Source.
Over 71% of teens in America use more than one social network site.
A typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day." Source, Pew Research.
"Facebook: the new social control paradigm." Source, Zerohedge.
Do to a lack of reliable statistical information from reliable sources in China and India, we will use the above American data samples as our template, for we assume the same posturing holds true for Asian youth too, with local social networks replacing the American ones as is the case in China for example.
What are the implications of the above data for the teaching profession in general?
What does it actually mean for the teacher in a brick-and-mortar classroom?
It means this ...
Kids in today's world need bursts of energy.
Their mental, behavioral and psychological makeup requires bursts of movement simply because their attention spans are short.
And they need constant continuous mental distractions or their concentration span and attention span starts to breakdown (i.e., they need continuous content flow combined with accelerated sensory data collection).
They also need AND demand originality.
If the bursts are planned, scripted or repetitive they turn off.
And if the sensory data collection is too slow or too limited, they get bored, and tune out.
Just LOOK at your own students for the proof of this behavioral and psychological change...
Twenty to 50 times a day they're STARING at their smart phone for two or three minutes each time.
They engage for No more than five minutes before they move on! They need a burst of energy, of new content, a new fix, and then they disengage, lock their phone screen and move on.
They've self-trained themselves to live this way, and mentally, this is how their minds function these days...
It is not their parents doing or training, nor the schools, nor their nation-state culture but it is just the way their world has evolved for them.
Everyone of their friends is on a social network of some sort. So they are too. That's the way their minds operate these days.
They engage, then disengage. Then re-engage again.
And this affects their mental health.
This process of engage-disengage-reengage is characterized by short bursts.
This is a key INSIGHT which we as teachers need to pay attention to.
That's the mental-psychological loop they are in and we should not ignore it in the classroom if we wish to captivate, engage and inspire them as teachers. There is a time-line in this pattern of engage-disengage-engage which needs to be acknowledged and respected. This is a technical restraint, which we need to stay aware of.
In England for example, a recent study shows that the average smart phone user checks their device 221 times a day! Source
In our Taja® opinion that's a lot of engage-disengage-and reengaging behavior. Two hundred plus times a day!
In an average week, Brits will pick up their phone more than 1,500 times to complete various tasks from emails through to playing games and updating social media.
And the average smartphone user is on their phone for three hours and sixteen minutes every day. This amounts to almost one full day a week using their mobile phone, so it is no wonder almost four in ten users feel lost when they don't have their device with them.
All the above just goes to show us that the ENGAGE-DISENGAGE-REENGAGE CONCEPT which we here at Taja® have developed in our TAJA T2® teaching paradigm IS CORRECT, APPROPRIATE, TIMELY and reflective of behavioral patterns that when properly adopted by teachers in a classroom enhance the teacher's capacity to captivate and engage their students more successfully than if being ignored, or denied.
And you can quote us on that!
As a side note regarding online teaching/ learning...
It is worthwhile to note that in our opinion "online learning" is continuing to grow at a very fast pace not just because it is much less expensive than attaining a bricks-and-mortar campus education, it's growing because it is encompassing the same percepts that we're outlining is this page and in the next page... that being bursts of content, which the kids can at their choice, tune in, tune out and reengage back into again at their timing of choice.
The best way to emulate and accomplish this phenomena in a classroom is with a Taja T2® type classroom environment ...
And that requires a paradigm shift in the teaching system itself...
A shift away from a one teacher-one classroom experience to a two teacher-one classroom experience.
What does the above have to do with the "teacher" in a brick-and-mortar environment/classroom?
And with the teaching-learning paradigm
You're boring! That's what!
You sing the same song again and again.
Yep, you... we're talking about you the teacher in a one teacher-one classroom setting.
And as a classroom teacher I'm no different than you!
I'm boring too!
Probably in all honesty incredibly boring week after week... and all the technology in the world doesn't change that fact!
You, just like me, you bring your boring boredom into your classroom's every week.
And there is really nothing that can be done about that because you're alone in the classroom.
You don't have another teacher present to change the tempo, subject matter, nor energetics in the classroom.
And there is no out for the students. They're stuck with it.
You're held hostage to the one teacher-one classroom paradigm.
Let's call a spade, a spade. It's not so palatable, but it is the truth.
With the kids mental health already in decline this just accelerates the decline in the educational system, making teaching even more difficult than it has ever been before.
Change the teaching paradigm and everything else
has a chance to fall into place.
We're proving that again and again in every T2® classroom.
Beyond being just plain outright boring we also bring our baggage, our emotional and mental baggage, into the classroom each and every week.
Each one of us teachers do that too.
We play the same song again and again, week after week, to the same audience.
It's amazing that our students even show up as frequently as they do!
If university tuition was paid on a weekly basis, rather than an annual basis, we bet you most wouldn't show up at all.
FACT IS, No one, including your self, likes to hear the same song again and again and again.
Not I, not my friends, and not you.
Look at your own music library on your iphone.
Is it made up of one singer? One song? One singer only? One song only?
When you're one teacher alone in a classroom, your song gets boring.
You're the only singer, the only song. The only player. You're boring when that is the case.
But when you are two teachers in one classroom it's now a band.
There is a "gig" going on.
It's not one song being played, but many many different songs.
And that's a fundamental difference between a one classroom-one teacher system and a one classroom-two teacher system.
And this is what is going to give the brick-and-mortar classroom a competitive advantage again vis-à-vis online learning too!
We're talking about initiating a revival, a renaissance in the teaching paradigm and in the classroom. A renaissance for teachers, worldwide.
Students in a 21st century university classroom want oxygen...
Something that a one teacher-one classroom environment is void of.
T2® gives it to them. For classroom teachers, this is very powerful.
This is power they- teachers- haven't EVER had before.
And the implications are profound.
Please listen up and pay attention to this page and the next page...
They want it in bursts.
What's more exciting and captivating?
MOVEMENT like this?
Or MOVEMENT like this?
Students in today's world embrace their world
differently than students in the past--->
They engage and embrace through bursts of colorful kinetic energy.
And through Pings of energetic dance and movement.
In short, through Spontaneous bursts of content.
The bursts and flow of original content, must be conveyed spontaneously.
If it is not spontaneous, not entertaining to some degree and not original they will definitely tune-out, and not reengage again.
Smartphones, apps, social networking, the internet and video games played since childhood have caused and are fostering this new makeup.
If we were to put it in a visual format, energetically, they need something like in the above pictures.
Multi dimensional colorful movement.
A one dimensional line doesn't cut it anymore.
This is their oxygen and it is cyclical.
This is how their minds work. They are not thinking linearly anymore. That's one dimensional.
They're cyclical and sensatory.
They don't want content continuously.
And that by the way, is not a conscious choice.
That's just the way they grew up and found themselves interacting with their friends, and the world at large.
The conscious choice part of the equation is only one-
To tune in or tune out and then, when or if to tune back in.
In the "old" world (in the 60's, 70's, 80's and even 1990's) is was either tune in, or tune out.
In today's "modern" world it's when to tune back in (aka reengage, and at what frequency), and why?
The 'why' is answered by originality.
The more original and/or spontaneous the presentation or the content is, the more reasons to tune back in.
When it's the same singer again and again, the song is boring. There consequently is NO reason to tune back in.
But when it's a band, there is a new tune, a new gig, a new melody each and every time.
And this is here to stay... we might as well face up to it.
It's not a cultural thing. It's not a fad that is going to pass.
It's the same in China, the same in America, Europe, India, Asia, Japan and every other country on the planet.
This is the world we live in.
This is the world our students grow up in.
And our future students will be even more like this!!
The writing is already on the wall...
Take note of
study by market research firm Childwise.
Ages five to
In short, as we can see from the above 2015 data our future students in a decade or more from now are going to be even more trained in bursts of content, bursts of energy, bursts of spontaneity.
Shouldn't the teaching paradigm in universities and institutions of higher education be adopting to this phenomena and accompanying this phenomena already today? What are we waiting for? Until it's too late? Until we're way behind the curve, again?
Unless a teacher is an exceptionally dynamic person with an exceptionally dynamic personality chances are for the majority of teachers alone on their own, in a one teacher-one classroom paradigm, it always is going to be a daily uphill battle to captivate their students and turn the classroom into a celebration of learning. Yes, there periodically will be days of occasional success, but there will be many more days and many many classes of failure. We don't care how hard they try, it's just not going to happen consistently week in and week out, term after term, year after year. And bringing technology into the classroom is just another way of diverting attention from the problem.
Some observers go much further...
Smart phones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist.
What does this mean for teachers into the 2020's?
What does this mean for our teaching paradigm/system itself?
What does this mean for developing leadership skills in the 21st century?
The answer is that the evolving behavioral and emotional makeup of the students needs to be mirrored in the classroom if we want already today to capture, engage, captivate and inspire our students sustainably.
The world has changed, pedagogically and as teachers
we need to change with it.
One teacher alone in one classroom cannot really do that successfully.
TWO TAJA® TRAINED TEACHERS TOGETHER CAN.
If you are a mediocre to average teacher, our TAJA T2® system and methodology are going to immediately upgrade you. Your potential is finally going to shine. If you are an above average to good teacher now watch how you are going to instantly become excellent and great. And we're talking from experience, not theory!
doesn't matter what the teachers personality is, the years
of teaching experience they have or don't have under their
belts, the depth of their knowledge of the curriculum, the
language of the classroom (English, Chinese, Thai, Japanese,
French, Russian, Spanish, etc.) or the nationalities of the
teachers, their belief systems, or teaching preferences. If
you like your belief systems and teaching preferences, you
can keep them.
Lets stop the rehashing
WHICH IS what most educational research-
teaching and learning models- are involved with,
and instead start innovating.