There is consensus beginning to emerge about how 21st century schools should function. Having spent a great deal of time reading and searching the internet for this information, I present you with the common threads that I have found and consider to be essential to my understanding of how my teaching practice needs to be shaped as well as the foundation upon which it should lie.
1. The world has changed. Schools need to change. Nobody explains this better than Sir Ken Robinson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U
2. Teaching needs to be conducted in a way that matches how the brain learns. A great deal of progress has been made in this area. A good place to start exploring this topic is at the following website: Brain Rules. The videos from Brain Rules are entertaining, easy to understand and practical. I do recommend purchasing the book for a more comprehensive understanding of the topic. I will say this: if your students are sitting …. by themselves … at a desk … or on the carpet … most of the day… completing an assignment … that you devised, you may need to change your practice.
Brain Rule #1: Exercise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck-tQt0S0Os
3. Children are hardwired to learn. Are you a facilitator of deep, rich learning or a bottle neck in the process? Sugata Mitra from India has made some startling discoveries. Watch his TED talk. His work is important. http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html
4. “Who truly understands how a 21st century classroom should function? Where is the visionary work taking place? Where can I see it happening? The following sites offer a view into 21st century education in action.
This video presents a kindergarten school engaged in project-based, child-driven learning.
Prototype of a middle school classroom.
The School of One was a 6 week pilot project.
Teachers share how they use technology.
I hope this helps to develop a common understanding of the direction in which the world is moving.
Happy New Year!