21 st century skills include skills that will allow them to be able to communicate, function, and create change personally, socially, economically, and politically on local, national and global levels.
Schools have walls that are porous and transparent, connecting teachers, students and the community to the wealth of knowledge that exists in the world. Teacher - Instead of a primary role as a dispenser of information teachers are now the orchestrators of learning, helping students turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom. Curriculum - Instead, education includes a project-based curriculum for life aimed at engaging students in addressing real-world problems, issues important to humanity, and questions that matter.
In the past a student was a young person who went to school, spent a specified amount of time in certain courses, received passing grades and graduated. Maintain student interest by helping them see how what they are learning prepares them for life in the real world. Curiosity - which is fundamental to lifelong learning. Teaching must be flexible to accommodate learning styles and environmental issues. We need to excite learners to become even more resourceful so that they will continue to learn outside the formal school day.
Effective 21 st Century Leaders ensure instructional needs, expertise of teachers, and ultimate needs of the students are considered. To do this, they ask the following questions:
Invest in your own exploration and use of new tools. This might include books, continued education, technology, etc. Celebrate successes and build a culture where exploration and innovation are valued. Be sure the technology experts interact with the classroom experts in your building and district. You must provide ongoing staff development for teachers and other administrators on the appropriate use of instructional technologies and project-based learning. Model the use of appropriate tools and applications when working with staff.
21 st century classroom - with laptops, multi-media equipment, interactive whiteboards, online databases, communication tools, learning management systems, student e-mail or IM access, games and simulations, unlimited access to the internet, etc. Role of technology – to prepare students for the 21 st century workplace, despite challenges to the implementation of technology. Seek out solutions - that best engage students and help them become lifelong learners Instead measure success by applying a range of measures to track how technology is used to increase student achievement and engagement.
Leadership requires vision. Visionary leadership is dynamic and involves three steps: (1) an image of the desired future for the organization which is the vision and is (2) communicated to coworkers or the organization which serves to (3) empower those followers so that they can enact the vision. When done right, this vision often becomes a shared vision. Without vision, a principal cannot be a leader. Leaders of change have a belief that the primary purpose of schools is to educate students. This was consistently identified in school leaders who facilitated school improvement. Effective leaders believe students come first and that it is important to meet the instructional needs of the students. Examples of this are providing technology or materials or providing professional development for staff. Leaders of Change recognize that the people in the organization are its greatest resource. This has three distinct parts: (1) The leader values the professional contributions of the staff. This is acknowledging individual’s skills and expertise. This is often demonstrated by the principal’s empowering teachers to be leaders and supporting their instructional methods, their modifications of instructional approaches and materials, providing human and material resources for instruction, providing non-evaluative comments on instructional practices, and protecting teachers’ time and efforts for non-instructional tasks. The second part of valuing human resources is the ability to relate to others. As a leader of change you must be able to relate well to all types of people. This allows you to develop a strengthened team, improve attitudes of students toward school, renew trust between yourself and staff, and enhance staff involvement. The last part of valuing human resources is fostering collaborative relationships within the school. Leaders form teams, support team efforts, develop the skills that groups and individuals need, and provide the necessary human and material resources to realize the school and district vision. The fourth characteristic of leaders of change is the ability to communicate and listen. Communication is both being able to clearly express oneself along with listening completely. Principals of outstanding schools were found to listen well to parents, teachers, and students. Communication is key to the successful 21 st century administrator. Leaders of change are proactive. They take the initiative, anticipate and recognize changes in their organizations, and begin to explore possible courses of action to respond to those changes. Lastly, leaders of change are risk takers. Risks are not haphazard, but are seen as opportunities to improve. School leaders encourage their staff to experiment with various instructional methods to meet the academic needs of the students.
Jennifer Wolgamott EDAD 550
Why do we have to change the way schools educate students?
Partnership for 21st Century Skills: Teaching 21st Century Learners
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