Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World? by David Geurin

9. Everyone as a Learner

  • The focus is on professional development and how it should be the responsibility of each teacher. In other words, professional development is something each teacher does rather than having it done to them. In David’s school, each teacher has to put together their own learning plan and post it for all to see. This allows for teachers to see who they might want to collaborate with on a learning plan. They also spend time visiting other classrooms where they can provide feedback and encouragement. All are expected to read and share what they read, and David gives each teacher a book for Christmas. They engage in genius hours where they pursue learning of their own design. When possible, students become teachers for subjects like technology where they know things the teachers don’t. Great teachers are great learners and they need to model this for the students.

10. Learn, Unlearn, Relearn

  • The future will demand problem solving and adaptability. Knowing how to learn is probably more important than what you know. School should feature authentic problems like those faced in the workplace. You need to ask questions that require gathering information, making sense of it, recognizing patterns, considering possibilities, and developing solutions. Be sure to give students think time when you ask questions.
  • Writing shouldn’t just happen in English class and the five-paragraph essay is nothing like writing in the real world. Students should practice writing in all disciplines. Schools that have taken this focus have shown significant improvement. To think like an innovator students need to practice creative thinking, embrace reflective thinking, develop strategic thinking, engage in collaborative thinking, think in terms of the big picture, think about possibilities, and think about purpose.

11. Community and Beyond

  • Thanks to digital tools, it’s easy to connect with local communities and communities around the world. Students, however, are often on social media a great deal of the time yet feel lonelier than ever. Social media isn’t going away so students need to learn how to use it positively. Connecting can give students a real audience and allow them to see what students elsewhere are up to. Hopefully, projects will be similar to what professionals do in the real world.
  • In addition to connecting in a digital manner, students should get out into the community as interns and volunteers. At the same time, community members should visit the school and explain what they do on the job to students. David gives examples of what his students do and explains how trips beyond school walls can lead to authentic learning. All of this may not correlate to better test scores, but he sees it as well worth the risk.

12. Digital Matters

  • One thing that David’s school has added is a digital citizenship theme. Teachers fit this in during the half-hour academic support time each day when possible. He also conducts discussions with faculty on this subject. Each student either has a school-issued Chromebook or their own laptop. The goal is to have all teachers use technology on a regular basis, but not just for things like PowerPoint presentations. Not all teachers are at the same stage of development in the understanding and use of technology, which is no doubt true for all schools.
  • Blended learning features traditional teacher lead learning along with self-paced student learning using online resources. Teachers are encouraged to try one thing at a time and to look for opportunities to learn from the students. There should be also some activities that are technology free. Teachers need to work on developing their own skills so they can model this kind of learning and serve as digital leaders.
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