Education is at a crossroads. The rate of change in the world has caught up and surpassed the ability of educators to fulfill their core mission, that of preparing our young people for the world around them. In the mid-1980’s I was fortunate to spend time with a group of forward-looking educators, and together we recognized that there were fundamental differences between those teachers who provided a transformational experience for their students and those teachers who did not. In understanding those differences, we unknowingly described much of what we all refer to now as 21st Century Skills.
This blog is a continuation of that discussion, one that I have been involved in for more than 30 years. Other than the radical changes provided by the use of digital technology in the classroom, many of the attributes of transformational education have been around for centuries, embodied by those teachers who stimulate us to ask questions, search for answers, think broadly, and create new ideas.
In order for schools to evolve to consistently offer transformational education that is relevant to our post-Industrial Age world we must change the ways we are structured and oriented, and we must change how and what we teach. These changes will involve all aspects of our schools, and some aspects that are not even present today. We will have to:
• Question the sacred cows that drive our budgets and define the parameters of our teaching corps.
• Fundamentally change the relationship between teachers, students, and knowledge.
• Adopt the lessons of innovation and change management that are now foreign to our ivy towers.
• Engage the world outside our classrooms in fundamentally different ways.
• Re-write curriculum.
• Learn to embrace risk rather than fearing it…
…and more. I have been formally involved in running schools for almost 15 years, and informally working on the issues of cutting edge education for more than 30 years. I look forward to bringing that experience, and my on-going work on school evolution, into this important conversation.