Goals of 21st Century Education Edit
The young adult graduating from a 21st Century School should be creative, curious, have a sense of adventure and ambition. They should be a life-long learner, who takes appropriate risks but is also respectful and compassionate. These characteristics must be developed in an environment where a school works in coordination with families.
During the 20th century industrial period, education was influenced by Frederick Taylor's efficiency model of production. Subjects were split, schools were scheduled into periods and a K-12 curriculum designed. In the years since, many additions and changes have been added to this base curriculum. The system is very successful in some ways, and unsuccessful in others.
As business changes to address global competition in the information age, they have flattened their management hierarchy, created more flexible business units, encouraged transparency, and hired creative employees who question the norm. We have seen other phenomenon like Open Source Programming; Group Edited Enclycopedia's such as Wikipedia; and the creation of the Blogosphere; where conversations happen globally, and people work on projects that change the world not because they are paid, but because they have intrinsic motivation to improve this work; because the contributors are passionate about what they are studying.
As we proceed into the information age, global businesses will be continuously competing for this creative business. The United States needs to be a leader in creating an education system that encourages students to be creative and flexible. Schools must place students in situations that teach students to think outside the box and find creative solutions to local and global problems. We dream that the workforce of the 21st century is based on creative workers who are imagining the world of the future as a better place. Citizens who are empathetic and work to bring the entire world's standard of living up, as they strive to leave the world a better place for our students. (Get Faraday quote from Lehrer show)
In the 21st Century School paradigm, students are assumed to be active participants in their education. They are not vessels to be filled by content but they are active participants in creating their learning. The assumption of the educators in this type of environment is that students need certain skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening; but once these skills are had, the best way to nourish them is to allow the student to find what he/she is passionate about and to practice these skills in that space.
The 21st Century school knows that people have talents, helps students find them at an early age and develops these talents to their fullest potential. The student learns what his or her weaknesses are and learns to compensate for them (see Now Here are your Strengths).
Measuring of student progress needs to be consistent and clear, but this progress needs to be developmental and not content based. Goals of students should be self defined and self assessed. Students should be evaluating the work of their classmates and other students around the world on a daily basis. They should know what is developmentally appropriate learning at their age and participate in the conversation of how to get there.
21st Century school's should have the goal of working with students instead of doing things to them. We should be seeking to find students' intrinsic motivations for working.