Studying wicked problems -those which are multifacted and profoundly complicated in nature and as such have no clear or definitive answers- has been both a major focus and major highlight of CEP 812. Examining wicked problems in education proves especially difficult, given that almost everyone is either invested or self-interested in the future of learning. Teaching is unusual this way; because most people in the United States, a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, have or have had a school experience, many assume to be deeply familiar with it and assume subsequent “expert” status- or at the very least an opinion, often a strong one.
The reality, however, is that not even teachers are experts at teaching. This is as it should be, in that any teacher who thinks she has fully mastered the science of teaching has gravely underestimated the artistry involved. Additionally, the current system of American schooling was borne out of a need to prepare future workers for the industrialism era. Now we find ourselves inexorably linked to a system that is, in many ways, of antiquated structure and no longer supportive or effective for students of a knowledge economy. Everyone seems to have an opinion (or five) on how to “reform,” education, yet no resolution has yet fully surfaced.
For these reasons, rethinking teaching tends to warrant wicked problem status. Teaching, though, is unequivocally impossible without teachers. The reality that although they are not typically macro-level decision makers, ultimately, teachers are the ones who will enact change. It is with this empowering thought in mind that my think tank colleagues and I present our work on rethinking teaching as our wicked problem project. See our questions, frustrations, obstacles, musings, hopes, aspirations, and potential solutions in our curation, a link to which follows below.