Few people in the field of education would dispute that we as educators need to do a better job of preparing our students for the world in which they will be living. However, there are plenty of debates about how best to prepare our 21st century learners. I ran across a quote today that made me pause. It is one I have heard before, but today it struck a chord.
“If we don’t change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are going” – Chinese Proverb
How true!! Do we want to end up where we are currently headed? Not much has changed about teaching in the past hundred years. Sure textbooks have changed and we have technologies undreamed of a century ago. But just because we have these technologies, doesn’t mean they have changed education. Students are still expected to read from the textbook/listen to a lecture, do a worksheet or activity, then regurgitate said information in some sort of assessment. Is this really what’s best? Is this really where we want to end up?
I should hope not. We need to give kids tools and the freedom to use those tools to help them learn. Kids are naturally very curious. They love to learn, they just don’t love to hear a lecture, do a worksheet, and take a test. In a standards driven educational society, we have all but sucked the fun out of learning. Thank you NCLB!!
Skills that were necessary 100, 50, or even 10 years ago are not the same skills they will need when they enter the workforce. They need global literacy, problem solving skills, interpersonal skills, and technological skills in order to survive. What’s the best way to achieve this? That’s the million dollar question! What are your thoughts?