It’s Not Your Parents’ School Anymore

The one constant in education is change. Educators need to continually adapt their curricula and approaches to meet the evolving needs of their students. There is an infinite number of ways teaching and learning can evolve, but here are five “then and now” examples I’ve seen at great schools around the globe: 

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1. Not long ago, students were expected to sit and be the receptors of information. Now, we know they benefit from also being active initiators of their own learning.

2. Not long ago, learning was strictly product oriented. Now, we know learning should have both a process and product orientation.   

3. Not long ago, delivering the correct answers was emphasized and given the most value. Now, we know that good questions are essential, and at times, even more important.

4. Not long ago, students learned in isolation for most of their time in school. Now, we know they benefit from greater opportunities to collaborate as well as make global connections.

5. And not long ago, students were given one-size-fits-all assignments with the same expectations for their learning. Now, we know they benefit from differentiated instruction and the opportunity to have “voice and choice” in their learning.  

There’s little doubt that these changes make teaching more challenging. Enhancing student learning in these ways is often messy and difficult to implement. Furthermore, evaluating success across the curriculum doesn’t easily fit into traditional educational rubrics. But if schools are to help students become twenty-first century citizens who have the skills they need to be creators, empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers, we have no other choice.

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