Why Students Should Be Preparing For Students For Years Well Into The 21st Century

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How might we determine the year that we are preparing our learners for? What years should we be preparing them for? Education should be preparing students for years well into the 21st century developing skills that will prepare them for the unknown world that awaits them after graduation. I think one of the quickest ways to determine the year we are preparing our learners to function in is to observe the sort of tasks students engage in daily and the physical set-up of a school. Desks arranged in rows that mirror the assembly lines of the Industrial Age is a sure sign that students will not have opportunities to practice collaborating and communicating effectively with their peers. The amount of technology available to students and what the students are producing with the available technology is a sure indicator as to how our students are preparing for their future. Tasks that include low-level thinking and assessments made up of multiple choice questions is another indication as to which years we are preparing students for. Tony Wagner emphasizes the idea that “preparing students for future work requires teaching them "to use their minds well" as opposed to testing them reductively” (Jacobs, 2010, p. 11). Unfortunately, I feel we rarely require students to tap into their creative and critical thinking skills that would put their minds to good use. There are numerous valuable tasks that would put their minds to much better use and would serve them in the future.
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