UNLV College of Education Dean Kim Metcalf’s writing and research has focused on the success and failure of school voucher programs and the creative push to address the needs of the nation’s school districts. Metcalf accepted
the College of Education’s top job in 2013 after having served as the Director of Institutional Research & Planning at the University of West Georgia.
We spoke earlier today with Dean Metcalf about the future of classroom education. Click the links in each answer to see a video clip of our discussion:
How will the approach to education change in the coming years, and will we need more money to meet those changes?
Metcalf: We do need more money
, but we’re also going to have to be more strategic about where we invest that money. If we’re wise and we’re willing to collect data about the effectiveness of what we’re doing whatever the initiative may be and acknowledge what works and doesn’t work for those kids, in particular those most likely to fail or to struggle, and we can target resources in those areas, then I think, yes, more money strategically used does become important based on data.
I think in 20 years, education will be far more effectively able to use data. It won’t be just collecting data to make summative decisions or even the sort of superficial formative things we talk about now, but I believe data will be available and we’ll have technology soft and hard to tailor [what a student] gets in the next 30 minutes, knowing what you already know, what you did yesterday, what your interests are, all of those kinds of things, measuring and continually adaptive as we move forward.
What could that mean for the teaching profession?
Metcalf: I do believe the way
we staff schools will be different in 20 years partly because it’s difficult to find enough people who will do teaching the way we currently do it. So, I think we’ll end up doing far more tiered staffing where there’s some master teachers or lead teachers and one or more levels of folks who provide more direct hands-on day-to-day instruction to children, so I think that may very well change. The other thing that I think is likely to occur is the use of technology, not to supplement instruction but rather to provide instruction. Things like simulations are likely to become the norm rather than additions to what we think of as chalk-and-talk teaching.
You speak of the challenges of recruiting millennials to the teaching profession. Why is that an issue?
Metcalf: The sort of isolation, the rigidity of schedule
, the lack of autonomy, I think, and there’s a good bit of research to suggest, that millennials don’t find that to be the kind of job or career or work that they do. There are just fewer people who want to engage in that kind of thing, which in fact could change the way classrooms look in the future… We have to make it a desirable thing to do not just in terms to make it meaningfulness but in terms of the nature of the work, itself.