Friday, 5 February 2016

Issues in Teaching & Learning


Tony Wagner: Seven Essential Survival Skills
These are what we call “The Seven Essential Survival Learning Skills” needed for success in school and in the world of work and we need to teach these skills for our studens to be successful.
 
Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group has identified what he calls a "global achievement gap," which is the leap between what even our best schools are teaching, and the must-have skills of the future:
* 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
 
2millionminutes.png

2 Million Minutes ... That's how much time our children spend in High School
 2 Million Minutes is a series of documentary films exploring how students in the United States, India, and the People’s Republic of China spend the nominal 2,000,000 minutes of their high school years.
 
There is a lot of anxiety these days over the enormous and powerful economic forces of change at work in the world. Much of the concern revolves around education: are our kids going to have the knowledge and skills they must have to live successful, happy lives?

As an entrepreneur, angel investor and professional venture capitalist Bob Compton has been active in over 30 businesses including software, telecommunication services, healthcare services and medical devices. As President/COO of Sofamor Danek, he led the largest spinal medical device company in the world. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an Honorary Doctorate from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Bob Compton also became a filmmaker, inspired as a concerned father of two to create, finance, and produce the documentary -- Two Million Minutes - an intriguing look at how the three superpowers of the 21st Century - China, India and the United States - are preparing their students for the future.
 
Watch now ...
 
Toronto Star: Learning Curve Education Guru Paul Tough, says Grit is the True Secret to Student Success
Tue Nov 11 2014, GTA, Education, Schools at 03:34 PM
Paul Tough (who wrote How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character) said we've long focused on cognitive skills as the most important key to success. But Tough said researchers have started to identify other skills that matter - "grit," curiosity, conscientiousness, self-control. Some call these "character traits," the business world calls them "executive functions."
 
Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word (1st Edition, 2008 shown here)
Irigor is not.jpgn education, continuous and progressive change is important. Teachers should be responsive and foster individuality, creativity, innovation, and endeavours that foster student achievement in order for students to be successful not only in school, but also in work and life in general. 
Few people question the need for schools and classrooms to be more rigorous. But there is little agreement about what rigor is and what it looks like.  Our plan is to explain what it is (and what it is not), what we need to do in order to make it present in our school, and how to do it so that it is meaningful and authentic… This includes doing things that are engaging and motivating.
 
At Epiphany, rigour in the school / classroom is the process of:
 
  • Creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels;
  • Each student is supported so that he or she can learn at high levels;
  • And each student demonstrates learning at high levels. 

We are proponents of a "Growth Mindset" with the understanding that all students can and will learn ... failure is not an end; rather it is part of the process of learning.
 
The School and parents are charged with the responsibility of supporting student learning, creating the conditions to motivate and engage students to want to learn, and to encourage and inspire students to readily demonstrate their learning (even if failure is involved, and it will be sometimes).  Students take a crucial role in this learning as well - in our philosophy of learning, a student does not "get" an A or B or D even ... the student "earns" the mark.  This makes us all (school, teachers, parents, and students) accountable and assume a discernible part of the ownership for learning.  
 
The Four R's: Rigor in Twenty-First-Century Schools
MAY 27, 2008
 
Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms
 
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
 
Sir Ken Robinson: How to Change Education
This is the follow-up to "Changing Education Paradigms"
 
Sir Ken Robinson addresses the fundamental economic, cultural, social, and personal purposes of education. He argues that education should be personalized to every student's talent, passion, and learning styles, and that creativity should be embedded in the culture of every single school.
 
Adaptability and Creativity … In education, we need to change the way we’ve been doing things from the 20th Century and this means we need to create a system that promotes adaptability and creativity – not only from our students, but from our educators as well.  How can students learn to be adaptable and creative if they’re taught by people who are neither adaptable nor creative?
 
Carol Dweck:  The Power of “Yet”
Should you tell your kids they are smart or talented? Professor Carol Dweck answers this question and more, as she talks about her groundbreaking work on developing mindsets. She emphasizes the power of "yet" in helping students succeed in and out of the classroom.
Basic human ability can be grown.  Are we raising our kids for now or for yet?
 
In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words. What is it like to be a child in these new education superpowers?
 
In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embedded in these countries for one year. Kim, 15, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, 18, exchanges an upscale Minnesota suburb for a booming South Korean city; and Tom, 17, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for a gritty city in Poland.
 
Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into what works worldwide, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these places had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. They had changed. Teaching had become more serious; parents had focused on what mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education. A reporting tour de force, The Smartest Kids is a book about building resilience in a new world—as told by the young Americans with the most at stake.
For an audio reading, click the link below:
 
This is a CSC, Teacher & Principal recommended book that you should read ...
 
Watch this brief video from the author, Amanda Ripley. Click the link:
 
Watch a presentation by Amanda Ripley ... click the link below:
 
Watch an interview by Walter Isaacson with Amanda Ripley ... click the link
 
 
In education, continous and progressive change is important ... schools should be responsive and foster individuality, creativity, and innovation. 
 
Mindsets in the ClassroomMindsets in the Classroom.jpg
by Mary Cay Ricci
When students believe they can that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Inspired by the popular mindset idea that hard work and effort can lead to success, Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas for ways to build a growth mindset school culture, wherein students are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential. The book includes a planning template, step-by-step description of a growth mindset culture, and "look-fors" for adopting a differentiated, responsive instruction model teachers can use immediately in their classrooms. It also highlights the importance of critical thinking and teaching students to learn from failure. The book includes a sample professional development plan and ideas for communicating the mindset concept to parents. With this book's easy-to-follow advice, tasks, and strategies, teachers can grow a love of learning in their students.
 
 

Top Ten Tips for developing a Growth 24fba347762e0fb3f80d243dc19db0ba.jpgMindset in your Classroom

 

Imagine if every classroom, every teacher instilled this culture within your school. Every day, every hour, every minute. It would be transformational. Look to see how it affects the learning culture within your classroom and be prepared to share it with others. Teachers can be the very antithesis of a growth mindset. Having routines and expectations of ‘that bottom set’, which haven’t changed in the last 20 years. This is your biggest challenge. Embrace it!
 
1. Be Critical. Students should expect and welcome criticism. They must also be given the opportunity to act on any criticism or critique. This will allow students to realize that through improving their work and responding to feedback, they can be better than they were. For this to happen, the culture of improvement needs to feel completely normal. As teachers, we also need to think about how and when we give feedback. We should not always tell students how to improve. What if we gave them an exemplar piece of excellent work and asked them what changes they would make? Or get them to write a success criteria based on this to help students see what was missing? Or maybe just come back to the same piece later in the term and look at what improvements they would make. We need to make our students far more aware that they can improve without us ‘butting in’ every five seconds.
 
2. Share the pain! Encouraging discussion about what students in your class find difficult; what they are struggling with can be really helpful for students. It helps students realise that we can all be challenged, no matter our starting point. There may be ways in which students can find answers, but it’s also incredibly healthy to listen to the nature of struggle. We can all overcome challenges or set backs, and together, we can all keep going. As the teacher, we need to let students struggle. Don’t always offer the solution, this way students will realise they are capable of doing it for themselves, through perseverance, reflection and effort.

 
3. Question the effort. Questioning serves a pivotal role in nurturing a growth mindset. How could this be even better? What do you need to work hard at to improve on this? Is it time to adopt a different approach or do you need to just keep going? Are you putting in enough effort for you to make major improvements this time? Go and have a look at X’s work. What can you tell me about the approach she has taken with this work? Getting the right answers is part of the battle; the other is insisting that students respond to what they know about how to improve. The proof being in the pudding so to speak.
 
 
4. Make it difficult. What about those students who are producing great work without struggle? Is this because they are working exceptionally hard? Putting in extraordinary effort or is it too easy? As designers of learning, we must ensure that everyone struggles. Without making mistakes, we don’t learn. Without a real sense of challenge, the idea that you can grow as a learner is a fallacy. There is always a sense of struggle for almost every learner. As teachers, we need to help make those challenges explicit for every learner. Students cannot hide away from the things they always find a challenge. Whether that be presenting to the class, handwriting, spelling or something more subject specific. With hard work, every student can improve. They need to know that. They need to be given the chance to find out!
 
5. Make a big deal about effort. This starts with us posing the challenges, talking about the qualities required for excellence. “I know this is going to be exceptionally difficult”, “It’s going to take a lot of effort”. When those challenges are complete, we need to give space in our lessons to reflect and celebrate on the effort it has taken to get there. To celebrate the struggle, to ensure students realise that it was all worth it. They are now more intelligent and capable than they were at the start of this lesson, project or scheme of learning.
 
6. Acknowledge the effort. Make a big deal of those who are putting in the effort. Those who are spending time on their homework. Talk about their work ethic in the class, and what effect it has on the quality of their work and understanding. Let those who are not putting in as much effort see what happens when you do. Keep persevering with those who aren’t. The more they are surrounded by a strong work ethic and a persistent teacher, they will crumble!
 
7. Demonstrate that work ethic yourself. Be ready at the door, welcoming the students in for another challenging lesson! Have their work marked when needed. Talk to students about their improvements as they enter the door. Make sure you embody the work ethic you want to see in your students.
 
8. Display a Growth Mindset. Make your classroom a place where they can thrive as a learner. Have work of exceptional standard for them to see on your walls. Have examples of great learners in your subject. What did they do to get where they are now? How passionate about their work did they have to be become great? What would the greatest minds say about your work? If Steven King were going to mark your horror story, what would he say about how to improve the suspense in this passage?  If Sir Dave Brailsford were to mark your long answer paper for GCSE PE, what marginal gains would he say you could do to improve? Who are your local heroes? Who are those amazing people who have kept going despite enormous challenge to make a name for themselves? The Catherine Granger’s of this world.
 
 
9. High expectations for every single student. If you know about the Pygmalion effect, then you know about the exceptional power we have as teachers to affect students’ lives through our own expectations for them. Know every student can work hard, can embrace challenge, can develop their understanding and can continually improve.
 
10.  Provide elements of choice. Allow students opportunities for students to have periods of autonomy and choice. This will lead to greater persistence, productivity, well-being and ultimately better understanding through finding their own path, learning for themselves.
"Singapore Math"
When compared to students around the world, Singapore's students do really well in math, literacy, and in science  (as noted on TIMSS and PISA assessments) ... Worth looking at their eduation system!
 
TVO Presents: The Secrets of Singapore's Success (Singapore's Minister of Education)
 
 
Why does education in Singapore work?
 
Singapore Math featured on NBC's TODAY SHOW
Click the link to watch (3min 41sec)
 
Dan Rather Reports: Take a Lesson from Singapore
 
There is no such thing as "Singapore Math" ... it is more of a way to teach math, the books used, and a systematic way of enhancing the learning of mathematices - problem solving must be at the heart and focus of mathematics learning.  A lot of teachers are already using many elements of "Singapore Math".
 
 
Here are 2 introductory videos to help (a bit) with an understanding of what Singapore Math involves ... click each link to watch.
 
Introduction (Part 1)
 
Introduction (Part 2)
 
The term, "Singapore Math," came to Canada around the year 2000 when academics, homeschoolers, schools and the media started using books that kids used in Singapore. Since then, "Singapore Math" has been the descriptive term used by customers, educators, and the media to refer to math books and a math program curriculum used in Singapore. The term "Singapore Math" is not used in Singapore, where they just use the term "math".  Students in Singapore consistently score at the top of international mathematics comparison studies such as the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). The Singapore Math pedagogy was also one of the key research models used around the world. The diagram below shows the framework of the teachings of "Singapore Math".singapore-math-framework2.gif 
The model emphasizes conceptual understanding, skill proficiencies and thinking skills in the teaching and learning of mathematics. These components are integral to the development of mathematical problem solving ability.
 
Emphasis is also given to reasoning, applications, and use of technology. Advances in technology have changed the way we teach and learn mathematics. The computer and calculator, for example, offer great potential to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics.
 
Students will have opportunities to discover, reason, and communicate mathematics. They will engage in stimulating discussions and activities where they can explore possibilities and make connections. These qualitative changes require a change in the teaching and learning approaches; incorporating activity-based and learner-centred methodologies.
 
A comprehensive framework of the mathematics curriculum summarizes the essence of mathematics teaching and learning in schools. The learning of mathematics at all levels involves more than the basic acquisition of concepts and skills. It also crucially involves an understanding of the underlying mathematical thinking, the general strategies of problem solving and positive attitudes to and appreciation of mathematics as an important and powerful tool in everyday life.
 
This innovative and engaging approach to teaching math focuses on problem solving, deep understanding and the use of model drawing to drive the acquisition and application of mathematical skills. "Singapore Math" teaches the same content as traditional mathematics programs, just in a way that emphasizes understanding and flexible thinking. It teaches children how and why math works, so they will be better able to use math in real-life situations.  It just makes sense!
 
Framework-FINAL.gif 
Singapore Math (Word Problems) ... click and watch
 
Number Bonds (Number Families or Addition Facts) ... click and watch
 
Primary Classroom Examples of Singapore Math ... click and watch these short videos. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Right now we may have imagination, but it needs to be activated into creativity
 
Sir Ken's talk: As educational leaders we need to make the "alternative schools" the norm. We need to take back control of what is pedagogically sound and we need to be creative and innovative ... we need to find what makes my school unique! 
 
ken_robinson.jpg 
What makes Epiphany an Academy? Really, what??
 
 
 
 
TonyWagner.jpgTake what Sir Ken has to say ... Now add in what Tony Wagner talks about ... This is a Tony Wagner talk in the  Talks at Google Series ... Click the link.

 
 
 
finland-map.gifBoth Ken Robinson and Tony Wagner reference "Finland" ... Click link below to view a bit about Finland.  You'll see other posts on this site about Finland ... look further down on this page for more.

 
 
 
 
 
finland tony w.jpgTony Wagner made a 60-minute documentary entitled, "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System". 
 
Check it out ... watch all four parts: 
 Part 1   Part 2    Part 3      Part 4
 
 
 
 
How do your children develop and why do they behave the way they do? The Conference has some answers … Physician and author, Gabor Maté, links parental stress to ADHD and other childhood problems. Developmental psychologist and author, Gordon Neufeld, emphasizes attachment and the danger of letting your kids become too peer-focused. And Jennifer Kolari gives straight forward advice on how to handle common behaviour problems. Check out the rest of the resources we've pulled together on our Child Development page.
 
Click the link below:
 
 
The Lost Generation:
Well done and very inspirational .... Great activity for students to try and make!
 
 
  
leaving to learn.jpgIsn't it time to offer adolescents a pathway to success in school that's proven to inspire and motivate kids to keep on learning? Isn't it time to try more innovative ways to address the challenges of education.
 
 
 
 
student expectations.pngAs educators and parents, we are always telling our students and children what we expect them to learn.  It is incumbent upon us as the adults to think about one more thing ... what do our children and our students expect from school?
 
The Finnish Model of Education
 
 
It is just amazing that all kids are involved in special services and the fact that one classroom can have as many as 3 or 4 teachers involved in a child's learning.  The "Special" teacher works in the classroom and in another classroom - sounds similar to what we do at Epiphany.  Teachers collaborate with one another to work out the issues and concerns about a child ... every child is discussed.  The time spent to deal with the students issues/problems are dealt with - this is student "well-being" as put forth in the TCDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan.  The classroom time is reduced, but teachers spend lots of time collaborating, communicating with colleagues, families, community partners, and students.
 
“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” -Benjamin Franklin
 
When new initiatives, different ways of doing things, or innovative approaches to teaching and learning are discussed or even being implemented, is your first thought:
 
(a) "Is this more work for me?" or
(b) "How does the union feel about this? or
(c) "How does this enhance my students' learning?"
 
Your first thought, more often than not, will determine whether you're movable, immovable, or a mover ...
 
I am constantly reminding myself that we need to be open to the world and live our Gospel values ... Back in 2010, my curiosity was peaked when I first started reading and learning more about the Finnish school system - but now, in the position I find myself, it's got my full attention!  From where I stand (or sit), I get it - it is not so much solely about the mechanics of the Finnish school system that interests me (can we replicate it and do it here?) - On the contrary, it's the philosophy of life and the holistic approach to learning and the framework around society's commitment to the future that the Finns bring whole-heartedly into the school system that I truly believe we can instill in our education system. 
 
This philosophy strikes at the heart of the TCDSB tenets - our Catholic Social Teachings, the Ontario Graduate Expectations, and our Multi-Year Strategic Plan ... These particular frameworks established by TCDSB are not in place to help students and staff succeed on standardized tests or pass teacher performance appraisals; They are central to our teachings because they guide us to teach and learn to be fully human and a part of the social fabric of our local community and players on a global stage.  Furthermore, these guiding principles are the foundation for teaching and learning, and they are personal, individually relevant, and specifically meaningful - there is nothing standardized about them.  When I watched the videos noted below, they made me feel that the Finns have it right - they've got the pedagogical foundation, the respect for the profession, they value education from the youngest to the oldest (life-long learning is a way of life), they have special education for everyone, they value and give authentic and equal time to the varied arts programs, they've got the fun factor right in there - basically, they've got teaching and learning as an equitable, happy, inspired, motivated, and stress-free adventure that all stakeholders are engaged in (teachers, parents, kids, administrators, community) because it's what they value and treasure.
 
That's where we should all want our school to be - if we take care of the "well-being" of our students and staff, exemplarly professional and personal standards will be elevated and undeniably this inspired and passionate teaching will lead to better engagement and improved student achievement - and in the end, the future well-being of our work force should be in good hands.  We here at the TCDSB are on a good path, but we need to further affirm what is important and de-emphasize those factors that are not relevant anymore to 21st century teaching, learning, and society.  We need to live our Gospel values and inspire and motivate.  We don't need more documentation, road maps, frameworks, regulations and policies, CBA, MoU - we need people who care about the journey, have faith in one another to do what's good, put forth solid pedagogically sound curriculum as a guideline, standardized tests to inform practice (not dictate it). Our students deserve an empowered and divergent workforce of teachers, adminstrators, and other staff who are all working for a common good - for the sake of the future generation.
 
Our educational institutions and the people in them need to "visibly and unequivocally" value the arts (music, drama, dance, physical education) with more than just documents and policies - to value something means to put it into discernible and visible action on a daily basis.  It took the Finns 40 years to arrive and thrive as a nation with thr understanding and deployment of a valued education system. We need to invest in R&D ... A society that  values education is also critical ... this will entail our teachers taking risks and being trail-blazers, as a system spending our money more effectively and efficiently, and making our first thought "Learning" .... I fear that by the time we actually implement in practice what we know is right and good for learning in the 21st century, we may be closer to the 22nd century.  
 
So, what's your first thought when someone asks you to be innovative, divergent, try different things, be creative, and look beyond what you see?
 
 
Watch the videos below ... you'll see where we can go if we have the will ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rise Above the Mark
Here's one school district in the USA saying what they have done in the past is no longer good enough and they're asking, "Why can't we do it differently?" ... and they are going to do it differently.


 
NBC Nightly News asks, "Why does Finland have the best education system in the world?" And quite frankly they're asking, "Why does the United States model rank very poorly in the world given how much money, expertise, and effort we put into the system?"


 
Dan Rather Reports on Finland's surge in the field of education ... from a bottom-dweller in the the 60s, to a resurgence and re-focus in the 70s, to now 40 years of growth, improvement and all the while bucking the world-wide trends of the last few decades - "more standardized testing", "more accountability from teachers", "kids starting school at a younger age", "longer instructional periods", "more homework", "an overall refocussing on the basics" .... In Finland, they went the opposite way - there are no standardized tests that are used to rank schools and/or teacher performance; there are no stringent teacher appraisals; kids start school at the age of 7 years, not 3 years old; school days go from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm and there isn't much homework at all; a focus on the basics means you're doing music, dance, art, drama, singing, home economics and wood-working ... And you know what, those are the true basics of education that I did when I was in school too!  And you'll love this one: teachers are very well respected in society, paid well, encouraged to collaborate with peers, continue professional and personal learning and make the curriculum relevant to themselves and the students - gee, they're treated like the professionals they're asked to be, go figure. On top of that, teachers don't leave the profession after a few years - they stay for the long haul. There are no political squabbles and you know what? - all education is paid for by the state ... yep, even university!  The Finns value education because "the minds of the young is the richest resource" they have!  Check out Dan Rather's reports (and there are more on YouTube) and see why we here in Ontario better start rethinking what's important to us, standardized tests or an education system that doesn't strip mine our future generation!
 
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Self Directed Learning ... Baby Steps - Learn to crawl before you walk
The model of self-directed learning in primary students could readily depict SDL as composed of internal and external influences.
 
"Internal influences comprise personal characteristics of the learner such as attitudes and dispositions, which influence the way students approach tasks, as well as their initiativeeffort, and persistence. Other internal influences are personal learning strategies of self-regulation and meta-cognitive strategies ofplanningchecking and reflecting."
 
"External influences involve the context that directs and structures an overall inquiry activity in order to reach goals, the curriculum, the teacher, the classroom, as well as the availability of resources such as books and ICT equipment."
  
Some articles on Self-Directed Learning ... What  is it or is it not? What does it involve? Get a better understanding about SDL.  I'd like to think that right now we're tentatively approaching a "Blended SDL"model; I say tentatively because we're at the infancy of this direction and we're all learning and moving forward as we attend to the external and internal influences as well as the machinery of the education system and culture of education - something has to give!  Read up on SDL to be better informed and aware of what's going on out there.
 
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There are over 40 resources here for you to use ... Are they in your school?  Our aim at Epiphany is to either continue using such technologies or at the very least, begin utilizing such technologies by Sept. 2013.
 
From school e-readers and flipped classroom models to computerized testing and online courses, educators are still grappling with ways to shift an educational paradigm of the 20th century into one of the 21st. Check out the full film above and weigh in below -- What do you think the future of education holds?
 
Tuesdays With Morrie ... Click the title and find out more about this wonderfully touching story! It is amazing - a must read for all ages. 
 
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An A+ Student Regrets his Grades ... An article from The Globe & Mail Newspaper
 
Here are some excerpts that resonate with me ...
  • Education is not confined to the walls of a classroom; it stretches well beyond that.
  • One of my professors once said, “Writing exams isn’t a measure of intelligence or knowledge, it’s about getting inside your prof’s head to figure out what’ll be on the exam.”
  • I treated schooling and education synonymously. I had been directed not by my inner voice, but by societal pressures that limited my ability to foster personal creativity.
  • Instead, we should be fostering a culture where, to paraphrase Arianna Huffington, “Failure isn’t considered the opposite of success, but an integral part of it.”
  • We can’t allow learning to become passive. We need to teach students to learn how to learn – to become independent, innovative thinkers capable of changing the world.
  • Culture is a problem, and we need to fix it – from the ground up. There’s a psychosocial dynamic of not questioning current practices of education. But we can’t let this get in the way. Embrace education with all your heart, and remember that schooling is only a small part of the puzzle. The remainder is what you’ll have to discover and solve through your own journey.
Here is the complete article in pdf format and the original website link:
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The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As Canada and the United States continue to compete in a global  economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system (and by extension, all other education systems) keep up by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs (Critical Thinking and Problem SolvingCommunicationCollaboration, and Creativity and Innovation) - and you may want to throw in CatholicityCompassion and Change.
 
By far, one of the most inspiring keynote addresses that sets the tone for all others on this site.  It is a call-to-arms for educators, parents, administrators and policy-makers as it touches on all topics of crucial interest to anyone interested in 21st century learning and the future of our children.  Unbelievably, Sir Ken Robinson delivered this address back in 2006 - it is even more relevant today than it was back then.
 
Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, a dancer ... Telling stories from her own education and from her time in space, she calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one -- to create bold thinkers.
 
"If organizations are truly interested in creativity and innovation, give your people training programs in the techniques of creative thinking ... Don't hope for it; train people for it."
 
"A creative leader isn't somebody who tells people what to do ... the job of a creative leader is to create the conditions under which people will show discretions and will show discretionary effort."
 
"The role of the creative leader is to not have all the ideas; it's to create a culture where everybody will have ideas."
 
All over the world, there's a growing consensus that our education systems are broken.  These educators offer lessons in how we might re-imagine school.
 
(Learning without Frontiers: Ken Robinson)
 
The value of the arts ... what's the academic value?? Why are some subjects valued more than others? We need an argument for balance or a more holistic approach to education.  Why are the arts commonly treated as an "extra" as to opposed to the priority? Why are the arts not funded like Math, Science, and Language?? Why do we hope that our students will take the arts with their optional courses? Why is it that we don't hope our students take math, but instead make such subjects compulsory? So, the question remains: Why in our view of education, do we default to the so-called basic subjects or components of the curriculum from the 19th century when we trying to get our students ready for the 21st century???  We need a framework that facilitates balance and what we value - we need "Curriculum for Excellence" ... a sound conception to include and value all disciplines/subjects on equal footing. 
 
Basic or Core Purpose of Education
 
1. Personal ... don't treat people as homogeneous units, make people feel connected, recognize and celebrate diversity, connect people to their own sense of possibility, not standardized, speak to the individual, human resources are like natural resources buried deep within - our education system must provide the opportunities to get in touch with one's capabilities, create a genuine sense of creativity and provide confidence. Great teachers "look in the eyes of young children and see what works for them." 
 
2. Cultural ... in the end, we live in a global community and we need our education to allow us to value our culture and engage with the cultures of others in our community and creates a sense of tolerance.
 
3. Economic ... powerful economic purposes ... we are living in a revolution and tumultuous times ... factors that exceed - technology and population boom.
 
IBM ... 3000 corporate leaders from around the world were asked What are the challenges being faced? 
  • How to cope with complexity?
  • How to develop resilience and adaptability?
  • How to promote a genuine sense of creativity?
 
The "power of imagination" leads to the "power of creativity".  It's what sets us apart from other living things on Earth.  "Creativity is nothing more than applied imagination - we all have imagination, but we need some coaxing to apply it."
 
"Creativity is the child of imagination" ... what does it mean in practice?  It must be the centre of education ... to increase this power, celebrate and harvest these powers - and this will allow us to anticipate the future.
 
Leading a Learning Revolution ... click the picture to the left to go to Sir Ken Robinson's closing statements made at The Learning without Frontiers Conferencekenrobinson2.jpg
 
For more from Sir Ken Robinson (on this website), click the link below:
 
One of the best scenes in a movie.  Watch this clip, then watch the clip below ... After that, go rent the movie and watch it - you’ll see where 21st century learning and teaching can go. The main character, (Mr. Keating) played by Robin Williams is a 21st Century teacher and incredible that this movie was made oh soooo many years ago. What a fantastic performance by Robin Williams in this film - and the purpose and meaning behind it is a foundation, a mind-set and a paradigm shift that was the essence of my teaching career and I got exposed to a uniquely gifted and inspirational teacher myself when I was a kid (a troubled and mischievious one too) - my Grade 8 teacher, Mrs. MacKenzie was my Mr. Keating. I believe in our direction with all my heart. 
 
This movie is a reminder for us to do an ordinary thing extraordinarily well – bring a little bit of YOU into teaching and make the curriculum THE KIDS (put them into learning). 
 
Imagine where you can go with some creativity, personal and relevant experiences, passion, motivation, authentic meaning, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, imagination, and just as important FUN! I can’t tell you how to do – Nike’s slogan from so many years ago still resonates passionately with me – Just do it!
 
 
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" - Mr. Keating

"Carpe diem...Seize the day...Make your lives extraordinary." -- Mr. Keating
"In my class you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you words and ideas can change the world." -- Mr. Keating

"Why do I stand up here ... I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way ... Just when you think you know something you have to look at it in another way even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try. Now when you read don't just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think. You must strive to find your own voice because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Don't be rescind to that. Breakout." -- Mr. Keating

Wow - This movie asks us (students and teachers alike) to go for it, have a voice, step outside the box, and strive to remind yourself and your students to "Never forget this."
 
Now, watch the whole movie ... and catch a glimpse of where we should be going!
 
Imagination, creativity, innovation are factors - X Factors ... More importantly, remember the kids and the teachers are the other X FACTORS.  Technology, experiential learning, project-based learning, self-directed learning, problem-based learning - these are tools or vehicles to use with what YOU have to bring to the equation.  These are the WHAT factors; The HOW is very subjective and based on YOU and YOUR STUDENTS.  With the 4Cs as the constants, get going!  Microsoft wasn't too far off the mark with their campaign slogan when back in 1995 they asked, "Where do you want to go?"  And you know what? - 21st Century learning isn't solely about computers, ipads, laptops, or smartboards - it's about IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY, and the X FACTORS! - And don't forget, COMMON SENSE!
 
Want to learn more about 21st Century learning skills? - Keep reading all the articles, websites, keynote addresses on this page and on the Videos of interest page ... They'll help you decide where to go, what to bring with you, and spark something in you to get you going with the HOW to get there.  Don't look to others, look within you to make learning more than content ... make it about student life-long success.
 
Click the documents below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Self-Directed Learning (Australian Webinar Talk)
Richard Olsen from ideasLAB discusses, with various guests, self-directed modern learners.
Modern technology enables us to stop thinking about all learning as teacher directed, and all students as empty vessels. Self-directed learners using modern technology now have the ability to be much better informed and therefore more likely to make much better choices in what and how they learn.  For schools the consequences are profound. Having students that are in a position to make effective learning choices allows schools to re-imagine new student and teacher roles ... exciting, but scary!
 
The first 11 episodes of the 2012-2013 season are listed below.  However, you can click the link above to view all other episodes from this year or previous years.  Many wonderful and enriching videos, documents, and interviews practices are available.  Best practices deserve to be emulated!  
 
Episode 11
High School English
We'll see how teachers, including 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Brown Wessling, are working to implement the Common Core State Standards. As students are asked to go deeper into every text they read, we'll see them dissecting, discussing, and debating their way through complex lessons.

Episode 10
Connecting the Arts to Academics
Take a look at how schools are incorporating the arts into their curriculum. See a wide range of lessons from first grade to high school where students learn about math, science, discipline, leadership, and foreign languages through the arts.

Episode 9
Inquiry-Based Teaching
A look inside New York’s Urban Academy Laboratory High School where two teachers lead student-driven, student-centered classes. Watch animated discussions unfold when students are challenged to analyze difficult texts in a setting where there are no right or wrong answers.

Episode 8
Middle School
See how middle school students in America are being prepared for high school. Follow along as students read a fairy tale to learn the concepts of plot and theme. Find out why passing notes is encouraged in a sixth grade class. Learn how some teachers are motivating young learners by tapping into their interests.

Episode 7
Social Studies Essentials
Watch students engage in rigorous lessons about socio-economics, community, and history. We'll start in first grade and finish up in high school with some extraordinary teachers who provide their students with unforgettable experiences in order to learn complex concepts.

Episode 6
Technology and Science
Visit classrooms across America where hands-on lessons capture students' interest and imagination. See biology, physics, and chemistry in action and learn about some innovative ways teachers are using technology in the classroom.

Episode 5
Arts Essentials
Take a look at how teachers are designing arts programs that promote critical thinking and problem solving skills. Visit several classrooms where art, music, dance, and drama are used to teach math and writing – along with helping students develop social skills and self-confidence.

Episode 4
The Common Core State Standards
Watch teachers break new ground putting the Common Core Standards into practice in Math and English Language Arts. The emphasis of these lessons is on deeper thinking, analyzing, and problem solving to better prepare students for success in college and future careers.

Episode 3
Digital Literacy in the Classroom
Students learn how to become proactive digital citizens. From understanding safe behavior online to learning how to find reliable sources to seeing how online activity leaves a lasting identity trail—these lessons are designed to develop critical thinking skills.

Episode 2
Bullying at School
A look at three innovative approaches to tackling the serious issue of bullying. Visit three schools where parents, teachers, and students are implementing bullying prevention programs that are making a big difference in students' lives.

Episode 1
The New Teacher Experience
Follow two teachers in Los Angeles for an intimate look at what the experience is really like. Many beginning teachers are given keys to their classroom and left to sink or swim in isolation. But, with the support of mentors, these teachers persevere through the trials and tribulations of their first year.
  
(District Framework for 21st Century Learning)
This is a good place to start ... take a look at their framework and the implementation and teacher direction.  Below are a few documents from BPS and various authors - read and please don't be overwhelmed. With this new direction in 21st Century learning,  the process will need to follow the understanding - the mind is willing, but the body is slow to respond.
 
21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel
Creators and Contributors
 
“The lack of attention to developing creativity and
innovation skills is partly based on a number of common
misconceptions – creativity is only for geniuses, or only
for the young, or can’t be learned or measured. In fact,
creativity is based on something that virtually everyone
is born with: imagination.” (pg. 57)
 
“Creativity and imagination can be nurtured by learning
environments that foster questioning, patience, openness
to fresh ideas, high levels of trust, and learning from
mistakes and failures.” (pg. 57)
 
“Collaborating with others to further develop and refine
creative ideas becomes applied creativity and leads to
real-world innovations, a prize skill in our 21st Century"
innovation-driven economy.” (pg. 58)
 
Trilling, Bernie & Fadel Charles
21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times (2009)  
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
 =============================
21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Tony Wagner
Motivated, Connected, Self-Directed
 
“Whether at school or in the workplace, young people hunger for a more creative and interactive relationship with the world. . . . They have to be interactive producers, not isolated consumers.” (pg. 187)
 
“The overwhelming majority of students today want learning to be active, not passive. They want to be challenged to think and to solve problems that do not have easy solutions. They want to know why they are being asked to learn something.” (pg. 199)
 
“In order for young people to respect learning and school, we need to think more carefully about what we are asking them to learn – to ensure that schoolwork is not busy-work or make-up work but real, adult work that requires both analysis and creativity.” (pg. 189)
 
Wagner, Tony (2008)
The Global Achievement Gap
New York: Basic Books
 
 ========================================
 
21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Peter Cookson Jr.
Critical Thinkers, Questioners,
and Problem Solvers
 
“Every day we are exposed to huge amounts of information, disinformation, and just plain nonsense. The ability to distinguish fact from factoid, reality from fiction, and truth from lies is not a "nice to have" but a "must have" in a world flooded with so much propaganda and spin.”
 
“We can overcome our ignorance not with wishful thinking, but with testable hypotheses using observable data. Thinking empirically is a form of social responsibility. The methods of science offer us a way of thinking that is a strong framework for a healthy and viable approach to problem solving and living together peacefully.”
 
“There has never been a time in human history when theopportunity to create universally accessible knowledge has been more of a reality.”
 
Cookson, Peter. (2009) Teaching for the 21st Century: What Would Socrates SayEducational Leadership, 67(1), 8-14.
 
=================================================
 
21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel
Communicators and Collaborators
 
“While education has always been concerned with the basics of good communicating . . . digital tools and the demands of our times call for a much wider and deeper personal portfolio of communication . . .” (pg. 54)
 
“These skills can be learned through a wide variety of methods, but they are best learned socially-by directly communicating and collaborating with others." (pg. 56)
 
Trilling, Bernie & Fadel Charles
21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times (2009) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
 
 ========================================
 
21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Yong Zhao
Global Citizens of Character
“The idea of a local community has already become something of the past. Today we all live in a globally interconnected & interdependent community.” (pg. 110)
 
“In reality, it (a sense of global citizenship) is not only a good thing, but also a necessary and urgent thing to do
simply because our well-being is connected to that of people in other countries. We can no longer sustain our
prosperity in isolation from others.” (pg. 113)
 
“The ability to interact effectively with people who
speak different languages, believe in different religions,
and hold different values has become essential for all
workers. We call this set of skills and knowledge
‘global competence’.” (pg. 112)
 
Zhao, Yong. (2009)
Catching Up or Leading the Way:
American Education in the Age of Globalization
Alexandria: ASCD
 
======================================
 
21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Alan November
Knowledgeable and Skilled
 
“I have learned about two ways to think about technology; one is called automating, the other is called informating. . . . Most of the investment in education is automating. . . . bolt(ing) technology on top of what you’re already doing. . . . but we don’t improve learning. . . . You get very different results when you informate. The real revolution is information and communication, not technology.”
 
“Let go of the word technology. If you focus on it, then you’ll just do what you’re already doing. The trick in planning as we move forward is to think about information systems, whole systems of the flow of information and communication.”
 
“Informatting. . . . (is) a whole new business.”
November, Alan. (2009). Creating a New Culture of Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from:
 
==============================
Use class time TO DO WORK WITH STUDENTS and students use their own time, any time they want, to go over the lessons at their pace!
 
 
  
  
 
 
Learning in the 21st Century is not easy and you shouldn't feel too comfortable with it, but you should be excited to try it.  All you need is imagination, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, KIDS, and YOU.  The schools are preparing kids for what the future doesn't want - the old guard called 20th learning skills.  As teachers, we need to ask WHY????  Why are we teaching some of this stuff?  We need to connect the real world into our classrooms.  This is where the HOW comes in - what do we want our kids to know for their future?  Today's kids want to be connecteed with the world that's real and tangible.  Why do we think you need a classroom to learn? I can learn without a teacher ... Reality is, I would rather learn with lots of teachers from all around the world when I use my access to everything I want to learn!  How is what we're doing in school preparing our students for the 21st Century?  This is a dramatic  time of challenges and opportunities - Where do you want to go? Do I need to go to school???? Changes ... re-thinking, re-inventing, and re-imagining what the classroom is - the classroom doesn't need to be the learning grounds anymore.  Those who learn online tend to learn more and value it more.  Therefore, I ask you, what's your value? You're not the content (Google has replaced you rather easily, Youtube gives us lots of teachers); You're not deliverer of education anymore, that's right, you're not; Students can learn to pass EQAO and other tests better using online sources like Khan way better than a classroom teacher ... this is personalized for each and every single kid.  You, as a classroom teacher can't do that - no matter how much you try, you can't.  So, I ask you, where is your value to the classroom??? We can't personalize education - we don't have the resources. But this does give us opportunities!  Imagine being a child today with the opportunities we never had - wow!  Now, imagine being a teacher today - wow, the opportunities are amazing.  So, now ask yourself, where do you want to go and how do you want to go there? 
  
This is a document we should all read ...Necessary for some, but good for all.
 
 
 
 

 
 
On self-directed learning ... what you should know and how you should set it up for success.
 
 

What are some of the ideas, designs, and practical concepts to what a school should look like to help make learning, working, playing, and doing in the 21st century ... how this building helps bring out the inner capabilities of these kids is absolutely incredible.  These stimulus rich environments help these kids find their own passion which is critical to success in the 21st century.
 
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A Book by: Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel
 
 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times

This book should be your constant companion ... it has treasures you can't even begin to imagine.  The foundation for where education is going lies within the pages of this book.  All major speakers, educators, so-called experts in the fluencies of the 21st century use this book as their guide.  Not all reference the works here within, but let me tell you this is where they get the information from. If you buy one book for professional reading, THIS IS THE BOOK YOU WANT!  And you will have to read it more than once ... you just do!

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