Friday, November 11, 2011

Tony Wagner, Global Achievement Gap

Tony Wagner, Harvard Graduate School of Education, author of The Global Achievement Gap
 to help the public understand what it means to be an educated adult in the 21st century
there's some great stuff here! Worth it!

"vitally important to the future of our children and our country"
"what are the challenges in education?"
"new skills needed for college, career, and citizenship"
"skills we neither teach nor test even in our very best schools"
"very differently motivated to learn"
"our systems are not re-inventing"
any skills that can be automated are rapidly being off-shared or automated

Moral foundation: educating for character, has always been vital for our species
New or changed skills in addition

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving: Needed for every employee
  2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence: deep appreciation for differences. No longer lead by supervisors.
  3. Agility and adaptability: contrast with regularities of school
  4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism: lifeblood of continuous growth. Better to succeed at only some stretch goals, than to make all, but only average, goals. "HOW MUCH THEY VALUE FAILURE" "F is the new A...we talk about interaction"
  5. effective oral and written communication: formulaic writing (like required on MCAS); kids don't know how to write with voice
  6. accessing and analyzing information: ongoing changing information, growing exponentially. Information is a free commodity. Completely different learning challenge
  7. Curiosity and imagination: "not merely a 'nice to have''s our future" Innovation: "it is because of, or in spite of, our education system" "Curiosity and imagination the well-spring of innovation...those capacities are schooled OUT of us"..the kinds of tests we use rely FAR too much on factual recall...whether for AYP or AP. AP not teaching what they need. (tells of student at Brown who'd taken seven APs and never written a research paper)
Global achievement gap btn what our very best skills are teaching VS what all our students need for careers, college, and citizenship
Finland has reconceptionalized learning
PISA: can't succeed by memorizing: requires you to apply what you know to problems you've never seen before (reading 15th out of 65, science 23 out of 65, math 32 out of 65)
one out of every two students who starts college never completes a degree
No one ever says "gee, if only I'd had more content, I could have done better" They need more skills
Accustomed to instant gratification and "always-on"
Internet to "learn, create, connect"
constantly connected, creating, and multitasking EXCEPT in school
"the kid in the back row, Googling what the teacher is talking about, to see if it's still true"
"in Finland, no filters on any internet connected computers in schools..." they'd taught the students how to use it
"need practice on how NOT to multitask...sustained concentration..going to have to give them work that is intrisically challenging"
less fear and respect for authority: want coaching, but will not listen to adults who talk DOWN to them or talk AT them
what to make a difference, far more than they want to make money
who made a difference? The outliers: people who teach differently than others
"culture of learning is as important as what is taught"

Culture of learning v. Culture of innovation
  1. individual achievement v. collaboration
  2. specialization v. multidisciplinary approach
  3. risk avoidance v. trial and error
  4. consuming v. creating
  5. extrinsic v. intrinsic motivation (thoughtful adult play)
This is a REVOLUTION: from an information-based learning system (cites Kahn Academy) to a transformation-based learning system
"What they can do with what they know"

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