"Back to the basics." It's a phrase that's tossed around much but has varying definitions depending on the speaker and audience. For some, "back to the basics" means focusing on the 3 Rs—reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic—before (and sometimes instead of) anything else.
We have to get back to basics in education, like ensuring that our children are developing the reading and writing and math skills they need to effectively compete in a very tough and increasingly global job market.
Personalizing learning* will not truly take place in our schools unless we understand and act on three key things. Until then we will continue to tinker, adjust, and tweak a fundamentally non-personalized system to suit each person. We will continue to mean well but ultimately underserve most of our students.
Earlier this year, KnowledgeWorks, a social enterprise in the field of education, released its latest glimpse into the future of learning: Forecast 3.0 (PDF). Among other key points, the report stated that schools in the not-so-distant future will play the role of community learning hub and be required to become centers of resilience. These learning centers will still serve students educationally—more often acting as a center or gateway to various forms of learning—but they are also required to become "critical sites for promoting health, well-being, academic growth, environmental vitality, and connections across their communities."
First, if you haven't read Tom Whitby's post "The Big Lie in Education," do so. This post is a follow-up from what Whitby has eloquently started.
While we are reflecting, refreshing, and recharging, lets reflect on what we are trying to teach our students and why. Take the premise uttered by many that education must prepare our students for the "Real World." What is this "Real World" that is often held up as a gold standard for anything educationally relevant in a time when everything is changing so quickly and dramatically around us?
Too often this "Real World" that people propose is an antiquated idea that bears little relevance to today, yet alone tomorrow. "Real World" cannot be an education system based on last century's framework. It cannot be a system based on last century's metrics nor last century's constrained concept of knowledge.
Repeated refrains of the 2013 ASCD Whole Child Virtual Conference, held just two weeks ago, were the importance to form relationships with students, develop a personalized approach to teaching, and enhance learning. These concepts are all around us in education today:
This month we are focusing on school safety, where the initial thought is to discuss physical safety as a reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Yet, in looking back over the articles written recently, there is less about physical safety and more about positive school climate, supportive environments, open doors, and inviting the community into schools.