Monday, April 27, 2015

Ready for a Complicated World

From Michael Fullan's 6 C's Report
The news this weekend was full of challenge. First, the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Then, the Baltimore protests in response to the death of Freddie Gray. Also, Bruce Jenner's interview and the 60 Minutes piece about satellite defense signaled change with regard to acceptance and technology.

Our world is changing rapidly. The ways we thought about the world in the past are mostly no longer relevant today. We are a global, interdependent world that is becoming more and more technologically advanced. With that advancement there seems to be both greater tolerance for human differences and less tolerance depending on the situation and place.

What does this mean for our students and our schools?

First of all we have to make sure that every child has a sense of belonging and purpose in our schools. We want our schools to lay the foundation for a future world of peace, compassion, collaboration, and care. As professionals we have to look for ways to support each other, listen to each other, and work together to model that kind of community too. When we take each other seriously and respond to each other's needs and interests with respect and care, we begin to build those communities.

Next, we have to teach well. Our students need to be savvy and smart to live in their world. They need to develop the six C's as explained by Michael Fullan: character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, and creativity and imagination. They also have to have a strong knowledge foundation since knowledge begets knowledge. As I watched the 60 Minutes piece I realized how sophisticated our world is now and that sophistication will continue to grow. Students will need a lot of knowledge and skill to navigate their world, develop community, and solve the world's problems.

Also, our students need to understand their roles as global citizens. As educators we have to model that with our work and efforts. We have to establish green environments at school and foster a culture that reduces, reuses, and recycles. We need to spend time learning about the environment and how to protect that environment with the way we live and work.

As global citizens, students need to understand the history of our world, the story of many cultures and lifestyles, and the ways to respect and get along with the world's people.

We live in a complex, sophisticated world in which we all rely on one another for survival and a good life. The good work, in this regard, begins in children's homes and schools. As educators we have an important responsibility to foster the future in ways that build a peaceful, collaborative world. This is a challenge that makes our work meaningful and valuable.