Saturday, November 22, 2014

What's Important to Know?

The world of knowledge is at our fingertips, but the limitation of time and process create a need to prioritize, make choices, and plan your path. We can't know it all or travel every knowledge path. Therefore, where will you travel?

What implications does this reality have when it comes to teaching and living well?

For living well, it means defining what we need, want, and desire? For most, relationships will hold a high position in this prioritization--making time for those we love and want to spend time with. Basic needs are important too. We need to make time to support our families, shelter, food, clothing, health care, and education. Entertainment also ranks high for most people--what do you enjoy doing, and what are the events and activities that fill you up, energize you, and create a joyful life. Then if there's anything left over, you're probably contributing to a cause bigger than yourself--an initiative, group, or endeavor that lays a good foundation for the future of your community, favored organizations, or world at large.

As for our school communities, the choices are almost more difficult. We want to teach students well and we want to prepare them well for the world they'll live in, a world, as many say, that we can't truly imagine.

How do we do that?

At the elementary level, I think we have to change structure so that we are identifying the most important knowledge and skills, knowledge and skills that make students sharp, aware, and capable. What are those skills and knowledge and how can we teach them well?

Students need basic communication and mathematical thinking skills in one or more languages including coding, and a basic foundation of essential knowledge. They also need to know how to learn with a focus on Michael Fullen’s 6 C’s: character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and teamwork, and creativity and imagination.

Weaving together skills, knowledge, concept and Fullen's 6 C's is the way to teach well today, and that weave can be created through strategic, artful, contextual, and blended learning design.