We need to do more than just teach kids information. We need to invest in teaching them how to relate to others and how to handle the things they’re feeling inside.
A promising piece of research correlates the behaviours demonstrated in kindergarten children with their successes in life and learning 19 years later.
For full details on the study, you can read it in its entirety in the American Journal of Public Health.
Here is the research abstract
Objectives. We examined whether kindergarten teachers’ ratings of children’s prosocial skills, an indicator of noncognitive ability at school entry, predict key adolescent and adult outcomes. Our goal was to determine unique associations over and above other important child, family, and contextual characteristics.
Methods. Data came from the Fast Track study of low–socioeconomic status neighborhoods in 3 cities and 1 rural setting. We assessed associations between measured outcomes in kindergarten and outcomes 13 to 19 years later (1991–2000). Models included numerous control variables representing characteristics of the child, family, and context, enabling us to explore the unique contributions among predictors.
Results. We found statistically significant associations between measured social-emotional skills in kindergarten and key young adult outcomes across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.
Conclusions. A kindergarten measure of social-emotional skills may be useful for assessing whether children are at risk for deficits in noncognitive skills later in life and, thus, help identify those in need of early intervention. These results demonstrate the relevance of noncognitive skills in development for personal and public health outcomes.
I’ve been pondering this BIG question again- you would think after quarter of a century I would have answer! the truth is I have many answers and perhaps all are valid depending on the context.
I even stumble now on whether I mean ‘education’ or whether I mean ‘schooling’ and indeed whether these are interchangeable.
But I guess, to my point.
I hear and see much about workforce readiness, about preparation for the world of work, creating industry-like scenarios within schools for students to support students to understand the nature-of-work, ensuring ‘business tools and processes’ are accessible etc etc Now, these aren’t bad things and, placed back in school-land I would certainly fold these real-world contexts into learning, but…
It got me thinking to one of my first ‘lessons’ as a teaching student where we were challenged to think about students as ’empty vessels’ waiting to be filled and if the purpose of education was to fill the vessels.
And is this an exercise in preparing by finding gaps in knowledge and skills and filling them or, is this more?
1. A TOOL TO MEASURE 21st CENTURY SKILLS
Microsoft has made freely available a whole school perception survey built around the Innovative Teaching and Learning Research (ITL Research). This was the first research to correlate the learning design by teachers and the skills development and demonstration by students. This whole staff survey provides insights into perceptions around teaching approaches, barriers to ICT integration, impact of professional learning and understanding of the skill-set referred to as 21ST Century Skills.
You must be registered (free) on the Microsoft Educator Community and review this training MIX to get the unlock code.
Many schools use this to measure the impact of whole-school improvement activities and also use this to ensure that the use of technology is driving the skills identified as being critical for living and learning.
2. RESEARCH TO INSPIRE INNOVATIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING PRACTICE
This is worth shouting about!
The Innovative Teaching and Learning Research Materials are all available in two places. This is the CORE RESEARCH behind the development of the 21st Century Learning Design Rubrics and much of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning assets.
1. www.itlresearch.com and now also in
2. Microsoft’s Educator Community
3. COURSEWORK TO BUILD 21ST CENTURY LEARNING DESIGN ONLINE COURSE
Microsoft in Education have just released the 21st Century Learning Design online course. This used to only be available as a 2-day face-to-face workshop and now all the content, learning tasks and resources are available FREE. You do need to register at education.microsoft.com for access.
Begin the online course here
4. A CONVERSATION GUIDE TO SUPPORT LEADERS IN DEEP LEARNING CONVERSATIONS WITH EDUCATORS
The 21CLD Professional Conversation Guide is an integral part of a whole school approach to innovation. The guide provides scaffolded conversations underpinned by the ITL Research and 21CLD approaches to dig deeper into understanding the successes and potential opportunities in learning design to explicitly deliver essential skills.
Access the guide here
5. FREE WORKSHOPS FOR THE WHOLE SCHOOL TO UNDERSTAND ASSESSMENT OF 21ST CENTURY SKILLS (the ATC21S content)
Today’s curricula do not fully prepare students to live and work in an information-age society. As a result, employers today are often challenged with entry-level workers who lack the practical skills it takes to create, build and help sustain an information-rich business. Although reading, writing, mathematics and science are cornerstones of today’s education, curricula must go further to include skills such as collaboration and digital literacy that will prepare students for 21st-century employment. Establishing new forms of assessment can begin a fundamental change in how we approach education worldwide
How to LEAD for collective creativity.
(From the amazing Ted Talk by Linda Hill)
Leadership is the secret sauce.
But it’s a different kind of leadership, not the kind many of us think about when we think about great leadership. One of the leaders I met with early on said to me, “Linda, I don’t read books on leadership. All they do is make me feel bad.” (Laughter) “In the first chapter they say I’m supposed to create a vision. But if I’m trying to do something that’s truly new, I have no answers. I don’t know what direction we’re going in and I’m not even sure I know how to figure out how to get there.” For sure, there are times when visionary leadership is exactly what is needed.
But if we want to build organizations that can innovate time and again, we must recast our understanding of what leadership is about. Leading innovation is about creating the space where people are willing and able to do the hard work of innovative problem solving.
Find the three LEADERSHIP BEHAVIOURS in the TedTalk here
What is dirty learning?
I think of this as the opposite experience to what is packaged and delivered in many schools.
When I think of this kind of learning I think of-
- Self regulated by the learner. Emotion is the gatekeeper of cognition here.
- Not bound by time
- Fluid socialization
- Rapid design sprints. They call it play/ mucking around/ testing/ trying/ exploring
- Sometimes without obvious purpose (other than amusement/ distraction)
Many young students arrive at school having normalized the use of digital to learn through, to build with, to communicate and to make sense of the world. They do not separate their digital experiences from their real-world experiences, they are just experiences.
They may find themselves immersed in a world of linear analogue learning and one where their experiences, knowledge, skills and wonder are not invited.
The dirty learning has to happen before 8am and after 320pm
As I roam the world interacting with leaders I constantly note down the things they do. Over time, I look for patterns or emerging themes….like a poorly planned and even more poorly executive piece of qualitative research.
Yours in iterative design!
8 Strategies for improvement
6 Questions to challenge yourself
These are the 8 areas in which research suggests leaders of schools in challenging circumstances can make a real difference.
- Focus on learning and teaching
- Generate positive relationships
- Provide a clear vision and high expectations
- Improve the physical environment
- Provide time and opportunities for collaboration
- Distribute leadership and build teams
- Engage the community
- Evaluate and innovate
And the key questions for each of these:
- In our school, what do we do already?
- What else could we do?
- What should we stop doing?
- Why are these changes important?
- What impact will they have on learning?
- How will we know?
Access the full guide http://www.thegovernor.org.uk/freedownloads/nationalcollege/making-difference-successful-leadership-challenging-contexts.pdf