Key Competencies for the Future

One of those books which you will never finish reading because there is always something to go back and re-read… but it has certainly MADE ME THINK about the ‘bigger picture’. This year my mission has been to ‘flatten the walls’ of my classroom and connect ‘theone5’ globally. I have been successful with this. We have had an amazing time blogging, tweeting, and skyping with classes around the world. Not to mention connecting with 5 classes for the Global Read Aloud through Edmodo and discussing our thoughts, predictions, and opinions about the story One for the Murphy’s with students in classrooms from Townsville to California and across to Thamesville in Ontario. Somewhat of a start towards providing ‘real’ learning experiences for my students.

Having involved myself in the Book Chat around the book Key Competencies for the Future by written by Sally Boyd, Rose Hipkins, Rachel Bolstad and Sue McDowall I have been inspired to continue re-thinking the way I approach the learning experiences I am providing for my students and think about how I can help them ‘build their future’ rather than simply ‘prepare for the future’ .

Like others in the discussion… my initial thoughts were around ‘how complex do these problems need to be’? After the webinar it became clear that a ‘wicked problem’ is a provocation to challenge us to think about educating for the future BUT it doesn’t mean problems we provide have to be at a level which is above what students are capable of thinking about. They can be on a smaller scale. What we as educators need to think about is how we can provide opportunities for our students to be ‘active citizens’ who can have an active role in their learning and a sense of being able to ‘do something’ to contribute.

It means for teachers that we have to be prepared for ‘the unknown’! For many this is the most difficult part because we like to be in control, to know where we are going, the direction the students are heading, and what the outcome will be. This pedagogical approach of tackling wicked problems (or ‘knotty problems’ as was  suggested to me by @shiftingthinking in the discussion today) means we have to be prepared for ‘messiness’ … we have to accept that the direction the learning goes is not going to be up to us…we also have to understand that the outcomes might be DIFFERENT to what we envisioned!  Whatever the outcomes, great  learning will occur because it will be student-driven. To me, this is the exciting part…that I am not in control of the learning outcomes…the students are.

I loved listening to @MissDtheTeacher and  @Reidteachnz on the webinar with their ‘at the coal face’ contributions …just brilliant.

From some of the discussion on the VLN it is clear that although many of us are keen to ‘get started’… the dilemma is how? where? what? @MissDtheTeacher and @Reidteachnz provided me with some kind of answers. Thanks so much the two of you.

So.. the key things to come out of the ‘wrap-up’ webinar for me were..

  • Key Competencies can be woven into our learning experiences. I agree that we should not start trying to ‘measure’ them…too much measuring loses focus on the actual learning and starts putting students into boxes.
  • Reflective thinking is at the heart of ALL competencies. I was pleased to hear this as it confirmed for me WHY I spend so much time on reflection…at start of lessons, during lessons, end of lessons, end of week, sometimes through platforms like Twitter, #kidsedchatnz, Kidblogs, Edmodo, #tamatealitchat (our own school Literacy chat which I started and host!) at other times through Learning Journals.
  • The ‘pesky question’ around assessment which keeps coming up was answered for me succinctly ‘Bring assessment into the learning experience’. I actually do this when I think about how I teach/assess Literacy.
  • We need to open pedagogy so it ‘allows different perspectives’. We need to provide opportunities which can ‘create different perspectives’ which the students can then use to ‘create something new’.

The webinar concluded with ONE piece of advice from Danielle and Reid.

@MissDtheTeacher: “Start with Design Thinking”

@Reidteachnz: “We don’t need to start with ‘lofty’ ideas”…they can be small, manageable, school-focused problems even which are relevant to the kids to get started on.



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