Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Call for 21st Century Leadership and Teaching

I am not sure at this point I can say much more about the need for change in education that others have not already said. It seems to me the rhetoric gets louder and more intense with each passing year, and yet there seems to be just more talk, but not a great deal movement. There is movement though. Educators are trying to find ways to get the job of teaching done more effectively. Schools in Kansas City are going to try to use ability-level placement of students rather than age-level grade placement. My own state is going to continue its experiments with the early-college model. Every day, there’s news somewhere of educators trying to find ideas outside the box that will effectively teach our students. I think that is as it should be.

The sense of urgency for reform is recent years has manifested itself repeatedly by the posting of videos that try to illustrate the predicament our education system faces. The video below does an excellent job of illustrating how we are being overwhelmed by the amount of information that flows into our lives daily. And, it is this amount of information that has made much of current teaching and instruction irrelevant with its emphasis on rote memorization and the regurgitation of facts on tests.

As the video illustrates, our vision for 21st century is far from adequate. Our students are going to be found wanting in the global economy because we continue to approach learning as if it were a discreet content area to be taught to students, who then repeat the facts back to us on tests.

Our vision of 21st century learning needs to move beyond testing. Even President Obama’s vision of increasing the number of college graduates will be insufficient if our students just get the same old education they have been getting for a hundred years. Educators have a choice. We can choose to take part in the re-envisioning of public education, or education will be re-envisioned for us. The video below does an excellent job of showing how our students’ learning experiences will be transformed by 21st century technology. Principals, teachers, superintendents, parents, and all other stakeholders can choose to become a part of this transformation, or be left behind. It’s that simple.


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