Of all the articles related to education lately, I find myself agreeing most- almost wholeheartedly, in fact- with the author of “Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century Education ‘Story’” Thom Markham. He presents a portrayal of school today that I agree with and some remedies in order to help repair that portrayal. I might preface my agreement with this portrayal of this school with the disclaimer that the situation is improving but we’re not there yet. In the aftermath of No Child Left Behind, educators and administrators, students and families are working to change the narrative. So, what’s the story?
Markham describes the modern school as a place where “an undertone of resignation, cynicism, or even learned helplessness permeates too many conversations in hallways, staff rooms, and parking lots.” This is a valid assessment- but I reiterate, the outlook is getting brighter! The pendulum in education tends to swing from a ‘hands-on, better citizenship, student-oriented’” model to a “ ‘scientific, strict outcomes, measurable results’ approach to children’s learning”. Additionally, Markham doesn’t merely outline the doom and gloom of our past (and present) but makes suggestions for the future of education. These suggestions include thinking globally, not locally for a look at the end goal. The global youth are our audience as educators; we can be “connected [to a] network of educators trying to rally the world on behalf of youth” everywhere. Also Markham mentions the idea of redefining what “smart” is. This is not a novel idea; the push is no longer for rote memorization of fact after fact, formula after formula. Now, “smart” is defined (according to Markham) by the measure of “grit, resiliency, empathy, curiosity, openness, creativity, and evaluative thinking” an individual possesses. I absolutely support this change in mindset. This shift is a more equitable measure of skill for students of the 21st century- why should we be testing for their ability to remember what they googled last night? Instead we should be “testing” for their ability to critique that article they read on social media, the ability to analyze what they googled last night.
If you wanna take a peek at the original blog post, you can find it here:
“Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century Education ‘Story’”. (2015, February 11). Mind/Shift. [Blog Post] Retrieved from: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/11/redefining-teachers-with-a-21st-century-education-story/
I'm a Teaching Credential Candidate at CSUSM working towards a credential in English and Social Studies/History. Here's where I'll share my thoughts on various articles and videos related to teaching as well as my experiences in the education world.