By: Valda ValbrunIn December 2007 we ran this article in our e-newsletter. Valda Valbrun a former English Teacher and Principal is currently an Independent Consultant.
Recently at a principal’s meeting we joined the YouTube nation, logged on and watched a six-minute publication called Shift happens.
For obvious reasons the title caught my attention, but a few screens later I was shocked to learn a few facts that I had never thought to ponder.
- The 25% of the population in China with the highest IQ’s is greater than the total population of North America.
- In India, it’s the top 28%, therefore they have more honors kids then we have kids at all.
- The US Department of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have between 10- 14 jobs by the age of 38.
- According to former Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, the top 10 in demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.
- We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented in order to solve problems that we don’t even know we have yet.
- The amount of technical information is doubling every two years. For students starting a four-year technical or college degree this means that everything they learn in their first year of study would be outdated by their third year of study.
All of that in only the first two minutes!
I pride myself as having been a darn good classroom teacher, and an even better instructional leader today, yet in those few short moments I thought to myself that everything I taught the kids that sat before me over the past 15 years, was now obsolete, irrelevant, and simply not useful. I began to truly rethink the role of today’s educator.
We spend a great deal of time discussing ways to help students in mastering the curriculum. We plan, scaffold, and differentiate instruction to meet the diverse learning styles and needs of our students, and do whatever is in our power to ensure that students are assessment-ready.
But here’s the thing – if even half of what shift suggests is true, it stands to reason that we need to be teaching our students far more than just the curriculum. We have to rethink our role as educators from that of giver of information, to facilitator of learning. Shouldn’t we be teaching our students to be divergent thinkers, and life-long learners, with the capacity for ongoing growth and ability to change and adapt? Shouldn’t we be equipping our kids with the skills and talents they need to work in a diverse environment? Shouldn’t we be preparing them for a workplace that potentially does not yet exist? Shouldn’t we encourage students to have a different relationship with information and learning and hone in on their digital literacy. Shouldn’t we spend more time planning in such a way that we facilitate students in making connections and providing access to resources and tools to solve problems? Shouldn’t we be creating self directed learners because the truth that we now must face is that textbooks and lectures are coming to an end?
Shift doesn’t just happen anymore. It’s happening all the time. How will you manage the shift in your classrooms?
Source: Shift Happens, The Fischbowl Blog (Karl Fisch)
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