Over the course of the past school year, I’ve been reading a number of blogs that discuss use of technology in their classrooms and school districts. On the one hand, it’s helped me solidify my desire to go to grad school for instructional design. On the other hand, it’s made me start thinking about laboratory classrooms.
When I was doing my teacher prep program, I was in a school that had a laboratory school attached. It was an early childhood center, and those of us who were elementary or secondary people only went over there for kinesthetics. None of us interacted with these students because we were sent out to do field work in the local school districts. This laboratory school was divided into colored rooms that looked like any other preschool, but each colored room had something different they were focused on. Those in the ECE program worked with these students as they honed their own teaching skills.
A school on university grounds announced as a laboratory classroom is one thing. Everyone knows up front that there are going to be experiments conducted.
What about a traditional classroom? Does anyone understand that a normal, standard classroom is a lab, too? What sets teachers apart is the ability to try different attempts to reach their students. Teachers are such a giving, supportive profession that they then take what they’ve experimented with, refine it to something reliable, and then share it with other teachers. We don’t think about the fact that our students are guinea pigs in a day-to-day classroom.
This isn’t a bad thing. Incredible things come out of these experimental hot beds. I just think it’s funny to have formal laboratory classrooms when, in truth, all classrooms are laboratory classrooms.