A piece of “why:” weaving together three strands of a strong rope for engaging school change

Strand #1: Tony Wagner as cited in the National Association of Independent School’s 21st Century Imperative…

Tony Wagner from the Harvard Graduate School of Education interviewed over 600 CEOs, asking them the same essential question: “Which qualities will our graduates need in the 21st century for success in college, careers, and citizenship?”

Wagner’s list of Seven Survival Skills is a distillation of the outcomes of these hundreds of interviews and adds validity to the case we are making. They are:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem-solving
  • Collaboration Across Networks and Leading By Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurship
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination

 The World Has Changed

In The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need – and What We Can Do About It, Tony Wagner argues that “in today’s competitive global ‘knowledge economy,’ all students need new skills for college, careers, and citizenship. The failure to give all students these new skills leaves today’s youth – and our country – at an alarming competitive disadvantage. Schools haven’t changed; the world has. And so our schools are not failing. Rather, they are obsolete – even the ones that score best on standardized tests. This is a very different problem requiring an altogether different solution.”

[from NAIS COA “A Guide to Becoming a School of the Future”]

Strand #2: Seth Godin – “Stop Stealing Dreams”

6. Changing what we get, because we’ve changed what we need

If school’s function is to create the workers we need to fuel our economy, we need to change school, because the workers we need have changed as well.

The mission used to be to create homogenized, obedient, satisfied workers and pliant, eager consumers.

No longer.

Changing school doesn’t involve sharpening the pencil we’ve already got. School reform cannot succeed if it focuses on getting schools to do a better job of what we previously asked them to do. We don’t need more of what schools produce when they’re working as designed. The challenge, then, is to change the very output of the school before we start spending even more time and money improving the performance of the school.

[from Seth Godin “Stop Stealing Dreams”]

Strand #3: Sir Ken Robinson – “RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

NOTE: I highly recommend studying all three of these resources in great depth. Of course, there are countless related resources, as well. ANd there are more pieces to the “why,” such as brain research, technology advancements, world conditions, etc. But if a faculty would commit to studying these three resources as a think tank of sorts, I believe that a group of committed thinkers and doers could reveal and experiment with many of the “whats” and “hows” to make this transformation in education.

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Works Cited:

Godin, Seth. “Stop Stealing Dreams: (what is school for?).” http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/docs/StopStealingDreamsSCREEN.pdf.

Robinson, Ken. “RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U.

Witt, Robert and Jean Orvis. “A Guide to Becoming a School of the Future.” National Association of Independent Schools. 2010. http://www.nais.org/files/PDFs/NAISCOASchools.pdf.

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[“A piece of ‘why,'” A piece of ‘what,'” and A piece of ‘how'” are strands of a series on why school needs to change, what about school needs to change, and how schools might navigate the change.]

2 thoughts on “A piece of “why:” weaving together three strands of a strong rope for engaging school change

  1. Pingback: In Retro Cite (weekly) « A Retrospective Saunter

  2. Pingback: Another piece of “why:” Tis more blessed to give than to receive…and school change « It's About Learning

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