Thursday, July 12, 2012

Growing PASSION . . .

Last night we had the opportunity to listen to Ken Kay talk about what he sees as the capabilities students must have to succeed in life, citizenship, and work.  He calls them the 4Cs in his book The Leader's Guide to 21st Century Education.  You can read about them in this document on the NEA site.

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
This morning we heard from Tony Wagner about the 7 survival skills for future success found in his book Creating Innovators.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and using information
  • Curiosity and imagination
Sound familiar?  They should, because most of these have been a focus of our work for many years especially our Outcomes and Indicators, Habits of Mind, and thinking skills.  Following his presentation Ken Kay came up and gave me his card and said we should consider joining his organization as our work is aligned with his.  He knew me because of the pecha kucha presentation.

Along with the passion I have an accompanying growing dissonance based on comments from seniors following their oral boards making jokes or comments about finally having not to worry about complex thinker or community contributor or . . . any longer.  Fifteen years ago in our elementary buildings the  halls would be full of indicators of the importance of our Outcomes that I don't see today.  I wish that every student and parent of an elementary student could hear Wagner talk about what they learned in their work and what will position young people for success in the future.

We need to rekindle passion for our work and find balance between knowledge acquisition, skill development, and what Wagner and Kay suggest are the value added for the future.  It's time to refuel the train because I can't tolerate the dissonance.  

The conference is proving to be one of the best I have attended.  I'm increasing my knowledge, discovering new tools to support my work, finding affirmation from colleagues around the country, and being challenged to reflect on our practice and learning organization journey.

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