Friday, August 12, 2011

3 R's Need to Expand

We've come a long way from calling a public education the 3 R's. The modicum of 19th Century learning that really was the basis for 20th and 21st Century teachers needs to change. Do you have what it takes to do that?

In a continuing discussion of the model for 21st Century Learning I am writing today to encourage people to read the most recent post by Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor of the eSchool News. Her article was entitled the "Top Ten Skills Every Student should Learn", and it resonates with the 21st Century learning context so well. She outlines ten reasonable and supported skills that should be a part of the total instructional learning experience for all children. (

1)   Read
2)   Type
3)   Write
4)   Communicate
5)   Question
6)   Resourcefulness
7)   Accountability
8)   Learning
9)   Critical thinking
10)  Happiness

While some may debate that reducing the instructional experiences of children to 10 skills is an oversimplification, I would contend that to avoid addressing these skills is forfeiting one's career commitment. More so, than ever before we need  children to step up to the future well-prepared and well-versed in this skill set of learning outcomes. And there won't be a state created assessment that will be used to justify not doing it in the future.

Randy Turner, an English Teacher from California, was quoted in the Huffington Post in March as saying that if teachers did their jobs years ago we would have been able to affect a better outcome with our current politicians. As teachers we did not do enough to teach the things that really matter such as decency, respect, moral fortitude to make constructive arguments in leading for the welfare of people that elect them to positions of authority.

Skill sets such as reading, writing, and computer fluency are a given. But working harder to teach effective communication, respectful interactions, encouraging inquiry, and critical thinking are also a premium. But, now that we are all racing to the bottom together, another generation of warped politicos will be a certainty.

Be the difference for the future. Read this excellent article in eSchool News.