How our students can ‘RISE’ up to face the future
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
The world is facing monumental challenges and complex situations that require analytical problem-solving, innovation, and collaboration. The Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum shares that the top five skills graduates need are complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; people management; and coordinating with others.
The aim of global collaboration in education is to improve learning, break down classroom walls, and teach our students to use their power to help make the entire world a better place. John Dewey reminds us, "If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow."
Here is my four-step approach to transforming learning into authentic collaborative experiences that can engage students beyond our classroom walls. It’s time to R.I.S.E.!
R: Raise Rigor and Relevance
Innovation is quickly becoming the most important skill students need, and we need to increase rigor and relevance. Whether you use Bloom’s Taxonomy or Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, rigor is "thinking."
Our goal is to frame our lessons at the high end of the thinking taxonomies. If a student can "Google it" or "Siri" the answer, we don’t spend too much time there; instead, we move students to analysis, synthesis, and creation with our standards and content.
Relevance is the purpose and motivation for learning. Students should be able to connect our curriculum to themselves, the real world, and authentic use of skills learned.
One of my favorite resources to support math teachers with relevance is Mathalicious. It sets the pattern for linking mathematics to real-world problems, engaging students in deep discussion and inquiry to find solutions.
Mathalicious has topics like "Do people with small feet pay too much for shoes?" "Do taller Olympic sprinters have an unfair advantage?" "How have video game consoles changed over time?" and "Are we building the Matrix?"
The lesson plans, videos, and resources will hook students instantly. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial before subscribing.
I: Increase Collaboration
Of course, we support students with cooperative learning and teamwork skills in the classroom, but this component of RISE is all about linking our students to classrooms and issues around the world.
Fifty years ago, much work was accomplished by individuals working alone, but not today. Much of all significant work is accomplished in teams. In many cases, these are global teams.
When we engage our students in global issues and connect them with other students around the world, the benefits are outstanding. Global collaboration promotes critical thinking and creativity, transforming the standards into engaging projects with real-world and authentic applications.
Knowledge of other cultures around the world leads students to understanding and compassion. Our goal is to create students who take action or make a difference in resolving problems and changing the world to a better place.
The best place to start is with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Start small by intentionally incorporating one or two of the 17 goals with your current standards.
The SDGs allow us to help our students become solution-driven, see interdisciplinary connections, and be human-focused, globally relevant, and connected for change.
One of my favorite websites with lessons, stickers, and posters is The World’s Largest Lesson Global Goals. Get Connected! Twitter: #TeachSDGs Facebook: TeachSDGs Group
S: Support Creation and Divergent Thinking
One of the best ways to encourage students to take learning risks and create new solutions is to create a classroom environment built on productive struggle, embracing failure, and persistence.
This attitude change for many of our students is a process, but the growth mindset requires us to intentionally use growth language and model perseverance. My Favorite No from the Teaching Channel shows how one teacher, Ms. Alcala, creates a routine that signals that mistakes are part of the learning process and are a valuable tool in becoming successful.
E: Empower Learner Agency by Personalizing Learning
The goal of education is to create students who become goal-directed, motivated, and expert learners. This requires us to step outside of our comfort zone and allow flexibility in learning pathways.
A great starting place to allow choice in content is consider adding one learning menu activity each week. A menu offers students a way to make decisions about content.
A menu could be designed for 10 minutes, a single lesson, a week-long lesson, or even a month-long period of study. The teacher decides what the essential understandings and/or skills are, and she/he then creates a menu of choices (3, 6, or 9). For a variety of sample learning menus, visit 155 Best Learning Menus Pinterest.
The fundamental truth is we are preparing our students for jobs that do not yet exist, and we want them to be ready: ready to create, ready to innovate, and ready to become their best selves for humanity. Join me and R.I.S.E.
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