This post originally appeared on Courtney Belolan’s website on February 11, 2016. Belolan is the instructional coach for RSU2 in Maine.
Pace, as it is commonly understood and applied in education, is at its root a concept that is in conflict with learner-centered proficiency based education. Educators think about pace as the rate at which the curriculum scope and sequence moves. One big problem with pace is that it is usually set by someone other than the one doing the learning. Another big problem is that teachers, schools, and districts use pace as a subjective measure of performance. In both of these cases, the learner is not at the center of the learning and the industrial model of education is perpetuated.
Who decides pace? Who should decide pace? Do we even need to have a pace? If we do, how do we decide what the pace should be? How do we know if it is too fast, or too slow?
A logical thinker might attempt to figure this out using something like the oversimplified steps below:
- Determine the learning required for a student in public education to graduate.
- Complete a statistical analysis of how long it takes a representative sample to complete this learning.
- Determine the median length of time to learn.
- Recommend that be the pace.