Great Education in the 21st Century
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21st Century Skills
21st Century Schools believe that authentic education addresses the “whole child”, the “whole person”, and does not limit our professional development and curriculum design to workplace readiness.
21st century skills learned through our curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, integrated, project-based, and more, include and are learned within a project-based curriculum by utilizing the seven survival skills advocated by Tony Wagner in his book, The Global Achievement Gap:
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
- Agility and Adaptability
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Effective Oral and Written Communication
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
- Curiosity and Imagination
What is the Difference Between 20th Century and 21st Century Schools?
20th Century Classroom
USA 1960’s typical classroom – teacher-centered, fragmented curriculum, students working in isolation, memorizing facts.
Focus: memorization of discrete facts
Lessons focus on the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension and application.
Learners work in isolation – classroom within 4 walls
Teacher-centered: teacher is center of attention and provider of information
Little to no student freedom
“Discipline problems" – educators do not trust students and vice versa. No student motivation.
Teacher is judge. No one else sees student work.
Curriculum/School is irrelevant and meaningless to the students.
Print is the primary vehicle of learning and assessment.
Diversity in students is ignored.
Literacy is the 3 R’s – reading, writing and math
Factory model, based upon the needs of employers for the Industrial Age of the 19th century. Scientific management.
Driven by the NCLB and standardized testing mania.
21st Century Classroom
Focus: what students Know, Can Do and Are Like after all the details are forgotten.
Learning is designed on upper levels of Blooms’ – synthesis, analysis and evaluation (and include lower levels as curriculum is designed down from the top.)
Learners work collaboratively with classmates and others around the world – the Global Classroom
Student-centered: teacher is facilitator/coach
Great deal of student freedom
No “discipline problems” – students and teachers have mutually respectful relationship as co-learners; students are highly motivated.
Integrated and Interdisciplinary curriculum
Grades based on what was learned
High expectations – “If it isn’t good it isn’t done.” We expect, and ensure, that all students succeed in learning at high levels. Some may go higher – we get out of their way to let them do that.
Self, Peer and Other assessments. Public audience, authentic assessments.
Curriculum is connected to students’ interests, experiences, talents and the real world.
Performances, projects and multiple forms of media are used for learning and assessment.
Curriculum and instruction address student diversity
Multiple literacies of the 21st century – aligned to living and working in a globalized new millennium.
Global model, based upon the needs of a globalized, high-tech society.
Standardized testing has its place. Education is not driven by the NCLB and standardized testing mania.
What is 21st Century Curriculum?
The classroom is expanded to include the greater community. Students are self-directed, and work both independently and interdependently. The curriculum and instruction are designed to challenge all students, and provides for differentiation.
The curriculum is not textbook-driven or fragmented, but is thematic, project-based and integrated. Skills and content are not taught as an end in themselves, but students learn them through their research and application in their projects. Textbooks, if they have them, are just one of many resources.
Knowledge is not memorization of facts and figures, but is constructed through research and application, and connected to previous knowledge, personal experience, interests, talents and passions. The skills and content become relevant and needed as students require this information to complete their projects. The content and basic skills are applied within the context of the curriculum, and are not ends in themselves.
Assessment moves from regurgitation of memorized facts and disconnected processes to demonstration of understanding through application in a variety of contexts. Real-world audiences are an important part of the assessment process, as is self-assessment.
“School”, “Teacher”, “Learner” and “Curriculum” for the 21st Century
This is a dramatic departure from the factory-model education of the past. It is abandonment, finally, of textbook-driven, teacher-centered, paper and pencil schooling. It means a new way of understanding the concept of “knowledge”, a new definition of the “educated person”. A new way of designing and delivering the curriculum is required.
We offer the following new definitions for “School”, “Teacher” and “Learner” appropriate for the 21st century:
Schools will go from ‘buildings’ to 'nerve centers', with walls that are porous and transparent, connecting teachers, students and the community to the wealth of knowledge that exists in the world.”
Teacher - From primary role as a dispenser of information to orchestrator of learning and helping students turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom.
The 21st century will require knowledge generation, not just information delivery, and schools will need to create a “culture of inquiry”.
Learner - In the past a learner was a young person who went to school, spent a specified amount of time in certain courses, received passing grades and graduated. Today we must see learners in a new context:
First – we must maintain student interest by helping them see how what they are learning prepares them for life in the real world.
Second – we must instill curiosity, which is fundamental to lifelong learning.
Third – we must be flexible in how we teach.
Fourth – we must excite learners to become even more resourceful so that they will continue to learn outside the formal school day.”
The Melbourne Declaration Preamble
High Quality Schooling- that equips young people with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values
Collaboration and Engagement with all Stakeholders- all schools and all levels of government
Major Changes in the World that are Placing Demands on Australian Ed- Global integration and international mobility, Australias need to become Asia literate, globalisation and technological changes, complex environmental, social and economic changes eg. climate change and advances in ICT.
Areas where Aust Education Needs Improvement- failed to improve ed outcomes for many indigenous australians, Aust students from low socio-economic backgrounds are underrepresented, room for improvement in Australias rate of Year 12 completion
Cornerstone for Australian Schooling- Literacy, Numeracy and knowledge of key disciplines, social interaction, cross disciplinary thinking and use of digital media.
Schools Legacy to Young People- should include national values of democracy, equity and justice, and personal values and attributes such as honesty, resilience and respect.
The Guiding Tenets of HOW2Learn
HOW2Learn has been developed in reponse to the current and future learning needs of students in the 21st century.
1. Real life learning
2. Mental wellbeing
3. Social and Personal Responsibility
4. Success at School and Success in Life
5. Learning Powerfully and Purposefully
6. Complex but Vital