Posted on 08/28/2012 at 09:29 AM by Global Reach

Grant Wiggins (Educational Leadership, March 2011) made the following statement:
      “There’s only one valid measure of the high school curriculum:  How well does it prepare students for their adult lives?”

We have heard so many times how important it is for our students to develop the soft skills, those 21st century skills of Iowa Core, while studying and working in each of their courses and program areas. Teaching these skills is the joint responsibility of each parent, each teacher and more importantly, each student to teach themselves when given the opportunity. If our students leave the K-12 systems with the ability to truly solve problems that are real world and non-routine, use critical thinking to be creative and progressive, and be able to communicate effectively with those they are required to work with then we can say “Job well done!”  If this experience is true of our schools, our students will be involved in learning that is more personalized. Students will be engaged in learning that has greater meaning and conceptual over coverage of content.

As our schools and teachers continue the work of alignment to the Iowa Core, it will be important to keep in mind those areas not yet articulated within the core such as fine arts, career technical programs and foreign languages. Be aware that these areas are as critical a part of our students’ educational experiences as math, reading, science and social studies. The challenge we face is to focus less on factual content mastery in favor of better integrating higher-order thinking skills through the curriculum (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2010). 

What is one thing you can change in the school you are in or the courses you teach to explicitly build those skills that will better prepare students for their adult lives?


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