Thompson: How Do We Engage Students in Learning for the 21st Century?
Rather than fight among ourselves, charter and traditional public schools should be battling the real causes of educational failure. We need to find a way to confront the distractions produced by our hyperactive culture. I would draw upon the strengths of our technologies in order to help students learn how to control their impulsive digital world, and not be controlled by it. Regardless of the strategies we choose, however, teachers can not continue to fight each other, as well as test-driven "reformers," and also discover ways of making instruction engaging enough for the 21st century.
So, charter school advocate Joe Nathan deserves a hat tip for "Student 'Engagement' Declining Dramatically - and What Schools Can Do." which summarizes a 2012 Gallup poll of almost 500,000 American students on the single greatest threat to public schools. "The School Cliff" finds that as students move through school their engagement with learning declines dramatically. Gallup concludes “There are several things that might help to explain why this is happening — ranging from our overzealous focus on standardized testing and curricula to our lack of experiential and project-based learning pathways for students — not to mention the lack of pathways for students who will not and do not want to go on to college.”
Nathan describes schools where hands-on and project-based learning are flourishing. He also makes it clear that he is not blaming teachers who are being forced to focus on standardized tests for the decline in engagement. Nathan is issuing a reminder, however, that even in this age of "reform," teachers must not give up the search for opportunities to creatively teach the skills that kids will actually need in the real world.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.