When I was a classroom teacher who had never heard of History Alive, then saw it for the first time; I recognized pieces of the TCI Approach (http://www.teachtci.com/tci-approach/) immediately. The teachers at Edgewood HS, where I went to school, were all steeped in this hands-on pedagogy. Mr. Willis and Mr. Vessley did problem-solving activities with us in the 10th grade. My government teacher, Mr. Mignery, did experiential exercises all the time. Now, they didn’t call them that. In fact, they had never heard of TCI. For good reason too. TCI wasn’t around yet. TCI was formed in 1989. I graduated HS in 1988. What TCI did, was to put a stamp on all these best teaching practices going on out there. TCI brought them together, made design criteria, built trainings around them, and then eventually started building supplemental, then basal materials around this hands-on pedagogy.
As a teacher who used TCI materials for years in my own classes, I speak passionately with teachers today about the necessity for hands-on learning. We have a generation of kids who are now used to problem-solving. Collaboration with another person or group is second-nature. Kids today are used to analyzing images. They are comfortable and crave the immediate feedback from peers and leaders. Yet, it is not schools who are taking the lead on it…it’s gaming, it’s social media, it’s their own peer groups outside school. As educators, what are we all waiting for!?
It’s not time to dabble with hands-on learning. It’s not time to practice collaboration. The TCI Approach isn’t a roadmap of ideas that is novel in theory but hard to put in practice. These are best teaching strategies that kids demand and need now! The TCI Approach worked long before there was a name for it thanks to people like Mr. Willis, Vessley, and Mignery. The hands-on theory is the perfect solution for the students in your school. You practice those theories I’m sure. After all, you’re here on this site. Let’s take the extra step to make sure our departments, our districts, and communities are aware of how important hands-on learning is.
What steps have you taken on your campus or in your class to make the model-curriculum based on the ideas of multiple intelligences, collaboration, spiraling lessons, essential questions, or non-linguistic representation? These ideas are the heart of good teaching. They always have been.