By Tori Yang
Education and the way students learn is in a state of flux, and educators are looking to new models and methods to improve the future of learning.
The inaugural Future of Learning Forum, hosted by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Darden School of Business in April, brought together Curry and Darden faculty, students and staff to share ideas and thinking about what, exactly, a successful future of education and learning might look like.
The forum’s speakers included Darden Professors Robert Bruner, Ed Freeman and June West, as well as Curry School faculty and joint Darden-Curry student John Day (Class of 2017). The presenters gave thought-provoking presentations addressing four main topic areas including the environment, the people, the tools and the goals of learning.
“If we truly need to teach about leadership, business ethics and technology are a part of that, but creative arts can take us further down the road,” said Freeman, an academic director of Darden’s Institute for Business in Society, who delivered a presentation titled The Teacher as Artist.
“The first level is to see the classroom as a canvas in which you create something, something that has meaning,” said Freeman. “To do this as an artist, you have to tune to nuance, to the emotional and social environment, and you have to be pretty good at Miles Davis’ kind of skills, such as improvisation.”
According to Freeman, it is a collaborative effort to embrace the idea of teacher as artist.
Freeman said that “the second level is to inspire our students to be the authors of their own stories, to inspire our students to see their own lives in this Nietzschean sense as creating the life that’s before them.”
Day said that “schools need to be having more complete conversations about the future of education.” Addressing the demographic aspects of future education, Day predicted future teachers will be more racially diverse.
Throughout the session, speakers proposed a wide range of ideas for the future of education, including creating new learning environments outside of school, using indigenous knowledge as a resource, using technology and inviting students to take part in curriculum design.
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.