Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Mind Shaped

I attended a virtual keynote session of the Global Education Conference hosted by Charles Fadel, called 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in our Times. He made a great case for integrating global connectedness in the classroom, and shifting the way we teach from imparting knowledge to inspiring creative and skilled thinkers. At one point in the presentation he displayed part of a quote from Michel de Montaigne, which loosely translated says we should be shaping minds, not filling heads. (At this point in the session I drifted off and started thinking about passing out containers of Play-Doh to my students, having them take out the Play-Doh and look at it side-by-side with the container..."Which of these represents your brain better?"...).

Mr. Fadel discussed our traditional core subjects (Reading, Languages, Arts, Geography, History, Math, Science, & Government) and how we need to incorporate the following 21st Century themes into all disciplines:

  • Global Awareness
  • Financial, Economic, Business, & Entrepreneurial Literacy
  • Civic Literacy
  • Health Literacy
  • Environmental Literacy

He went on to share some research about how students prefer to learn, and that over 50% of students do best learning "in groups". Other high ranking methods of learning were "by doing practical things", "with friends", and "by using computers". Only 19% of students prefer to learn from a teacher, which supports the idea that we as teachers should be facilitating rather than directing or dictating. 

A recording of the session is available here for a deeper look at this issue. A timely and engaging topic, for sure.

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