So over the holidays during our annual “spring cleaning” I found this …

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Who today still knows how to use a good old fashioned type-writer?  I don’t.  Using a type-writer, like anything else, requires a certain level of skill that must be learned and practiced.  This got me to thinking about how the skills our students require change over time, in large part as a reactionary measure to the technological developments of which we are a part.

And then I read this …

Unfortunately, the 21st-century learning fad has reduced emphasis on knowledge. Trite phrases such as “The world is changing faster than ever before” and “We need to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist” are used to defend an educational philosophy that de-emphasizes factual content and replaces it with a nebulous process of learning.

– This is an excerpt from a thought provoking op-ed piece by Michael Zwaagstra in the Victoria Times Colonist.
See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/comment-knowledge-is-needed-for-critical-thinking-1.5311889#sthash.5jrlRvLN.dpuf

And then I saw  this …

Post-truth.  Hmmm.

And finally, I found this … the educational jargon generatorIt’s actually pretty amusing.

All of this to say that it seems to me that the field of education is constantly in flux.  Like King Arthur, we are always on the search for the holy grail – that ever elusive educational panacea.

Really it isn’t all that complicated.  It comes down to one word.  Balance.

Forgo the extremes and embrace the fact that learning is (or should be) holistic.  To me the ideal student is balanced – one who has a blend of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and understandings.

No, we can’t teach children all that they need to know, but we can give them the tools to find out – and the skills to know which questions to ask.  And yes, while children can’t know everything – they do need a solid knowledge base for them to be functionally literate and make sense of the world around them.  At the end of the day, perhaps the mission statement of the International Baccalaureate Organization sums it up best.  Their aim is …

… to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

– (International Baccalaureate Organization 2009 – Making the PYP happen)

Or in my own words, my student of tomorrow is “a good kid who knows enough to be able to problem solve, ask the right questions, and make a difference.”

Better get to work today to make it happen!

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