Teachers may stand before some challenges as modern generation of students and their characteristics. With all the buzz around the Common Core, MOOCs, and blended learning, it’s time to prioritize skills that prepare students to learn for life and new conditions of eLearning. They need to focus on a new set of skills. We can see that these skills can be broken into three categories: Reflection, Research, and Resolving. Let’s see why knowing of these trends can help teachers in their work.
Today’s graduates must navigate a changing job market and a glut of learning options. As educators, we have the opportunity to help them learn how to adapt and respond to this change. And we believe these 3Rs will help your students do just that.
Reflecting: In most schools, learners rarely consider the courses they need or want to take, and they often don’t understand how courses are sequenced. Instead, they passively work their way through a prescribed curriculum. As a result, they graduate without any idea of how to think about assembling a course of study from a wealth of options.
Teachers: Build reflection into the learning process, no matter the subject or activity. As part of the reflection process, require students to set learning goals and to document them in shared spaces, such as Google docs or blogs. Provide opportunities for them to share their goals publicly and to seek support in achieving them.
Researching: In many schools, learners rarely see research skills as integral to their studies. Often, research is associated with grade-level specific papers or one-time projects. Their ability to research can mean the difference between tracking down affordable and up-to-date resources or grinding to a halt when they cannot find what they need.
Teachers: Create opportunities for students to conduct research beyond subject-or grade-specific papers or reports. This could include asking them to research specific aspects of an upcoming field trip, activity, or learning resource. Options could include having them seek out available apps, educational games, online and in-person courses, or experts associated with a particular concept, skill, or topic. Require that they research and read reviews and then rank their top three to five options. They should be prepared to make a case for their top choices.
Resolving: Traditional school environments often create passive learners. When the curriculum is set, the schedule reinforced with bells and buzzers, and the environment factory-like, learners have few opportunities to make decisions for themselves. Following graduation, learners must learn, often for the first time, how to structure their time, how to make decisions, and how to take action.
Teachers: After students have researched and made a case for specific learning options, be they educational games, online experts, activities, or apps, let them choose which to pursue. For example, if it’s an educational game, let them make an informed choice and then begin using the game. Require them to critique their learning experience in relation to learning goals. Encourage mistakes and provide opportunities for students to reflect on the results of their decisions, good and bad. This gives students an opportunity to take risks in a safe environment and, with your guidance, to adjust, as needed.
So, as teachers, we have an opportunity to help our students develop these skills. If we do it right, we can help them build and develop these skills for life.
Marketing Assistant at Unius Learning