Thursday, September 27, 2007

the big 5

"The five, key 21st century skills, says Brenda Musilli, president of the Intel Foundation, are: problem solving, collaboration, communications, digital literacy and creative thinking. "

This quote came in an article written today about Intel's Teacher training program and the One Lap Top program.

This is an amazing statement. If this is what our children will need in the future, why are we not teaching to this? Why are we still teaching a set of skills that will be irrelevant in ten years?

By teaching our (mostly poor students) the basics and avoiding these skills we are continuing the cycle of poverty and ignorance. If however, we push for these skills, our students will be ready for the jobs they will need to fill in the future.

I'm not saying that the core subjects will not facilitate these skills or are not necessary. I'm simply saying that those skills will get covered by making these skills a priority.

We should be more concerned with how well our children will fare in the careers of tomorrow over how they will fare on the next round of government mandated tests...

but all teachers know this....I wish those with the power really understood what they were creating. By pushing so hard for the core subjects that are tested, schools are forced to put aside what is seen as the peripherals. Thereby repeating the cycle; students are not competing with other students around the world and are not prepared for jobs...the cycle is perpetuated by what is seen as the cure: mandated tests.

1 comment:

Joseph Miller said...

I agree with the argument for the Big 5. I think it is critical that we graduate children from our schools that can do these things. That said, I do not think these are separate from the "core: subjects. I think these need to be a part of the core subjects. Writing projects should stress all of these. So should reading, math, and science. i think what we are desperate for is concrete examples of success at integrating 21st century skills in our core classes. I think teachers like you and your colleagues are becoming leaders or experts at this new teaching. We are all learning as we can, but I am confident that we will be successful regardless of what the policy-makers choose to do.