Preparing for Today’s World
Knowing ‘facts and figures’ was a huge part of our education in the past. It was important to be able to remember information and regurgitate it. In many real ways, content has become less important in the modern age compared to skills as information is readily available with a simple ‘click’. There’s still a body of content that children need to know, but equally as important are skills like communication, both written and oral, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and interacting within a diverse environment. As we prepare to become global citizens, the ability to communicate and to interact with people different than ourselves has become more and more critical and, quite frankly, more and more of a marketable skill in the 21st century workplace. Those are the kinds of things we as teachers are thinking about today.
Finding the right balance between ‘challenging children’ and ‘supporting children’. Challenge is to find a point of curricular delivery for each child that is just beyond his or her comfort level. This will help them to develop resilience and perseverance, with a view to becoming intrinsically motivated and less ‘bored’. Accomplishing challenging tasks leads to greater self-esteem.
The other part of the equation is making sure that children are supported; that they know it’s okay to make mistakes, that it’s okay to fail from time to time. Our goal as educators should be to create a true safety net where children can strive and make mistakes, knowing that they are loved, that they are safe, and that they are treasured.