Posts Tagged ‘higher level thinking skills’

So ….. is hoodwinking our kids into believing that the tooth fairy is real the right kind of thing to do?  Or should we instead be helping them learn to distinguish fantasy from reality?

Never thought about it?

I hadn’t either – not until I listened to Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about the tooth fairy on the The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Imagine how easily we could apply this kind of logic to so much of what we teach our students!

It’s a little mind-boggling – no?!



Read Full Post »

It’s back to school at this end of the world, so it’s a good time to be thinking about what it is we are trying to achieve in our school libraries or perhaps query whether in fact we have been achieving that which we really want to achieve!

For those of us on the ‘teaching’ side of the education fence, we grew up with hard copy reference materials which, in their day, were invaluable.

For some teachers, the shift to a digital world is difficult.  The constant need to adapt and change how we do what we’ve always done can be challenging, frustrating and daunting.   But to retain our relevancy, change is essential. While keeping an open mind, being ready to take a risk and experimenting to develop new teaching routines can be time consuming, ultimately it is very rewarding.  Accepting that we are able to learn from those we teach, creates a very different education model which can be challenging to both teachers and students.

It is a reality that our students will be returning to our schools from a holiday filled with constant texting and connectivity in an online environment in which social media predominates.  The ire directed at this constant pass time of our young can be heard loud and clear.  I find myself question though …..

Is social media really all that bad?
Sometimes it is the jolt received by the thinking and writing of others which leads us onto new paths of awareness.  A recent read of an article by Daniel Maxwell published in Asian Correspondent: Gen Y, social media & critical thinking: Developing skills schools neglect reinforced thoughts I’ve previously expressed on this blog:
Today’s high school students, Generation Y, are the first generation to grow up in a world where smartphones and the internet are as commonplace as colour TVs and refrigerators. They inhabit a world very different to the one that previous generations grew up in. Furthermore, the skills young people need to navigate and succeed in this environment have also changed. The development of higher level thinking skills is becoming increasingly essential for 21st century learners.”
Voicing concern that schools of the 21st Century may not be meeting the needs of today’s students, Maxwell highlights a glaring reality that for the most part is being quietly ignored in our schools: students are independently engaging outside the classroom in complex skills which utilize higher level thinking skills.  Using social media, predominantly on their smartphones, our students are
  • rapidly processing and responding to instant messages
  • quickly and creatively recording, editing and publishing photos, videos, blogs, songs and artwork
  • questioning and challenging social issues, sharing opinions, rallying support and mobilizing demonstrators in ways that were unfathomable prior to the digital age

Perhaps, as Maxwell suggests, it’s time to stop worrying about the amount of time our students spend using their smartphones and to instead look at what it is they are doing with their smartphones.   Learning from and with our students will be far more productive than forcing them to conform with an educational model which has long been outdated.  Changing how we do what we’ve always done is not easy.  Considering how others are tackling the evolution of teaching and learning can be inspiring.

A good starting point could be a read of The 21st century classroom – where the 3 R’s meet the 4 C’s! in which lots of practical ideas are suggested.

Read Full Post »