I’m sharing a couple of quick thoughts from this week’s International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Andreas Schleicher started us off by describing what OECD has learned from international educators about developing teachers and preparing students for 21st century success.
He noted that in a global economy that’s organized around information, routine cognitive skills—the easiest to teach and to test—are also the easiest to automate and outsource to computers. Educators need to focus not on teaching students the kind of content they can pick up through a Google search, but rather how to be lifelong learners who can manage complex ways of thinking and working in teams. In other words, they need to lead the kind of project-based learning that characterizes the best after-school programs and expanded learning time schools.
He also got us thinking about how learning has evolved around the world. In the past, different students were all taught the same way. The goal was conformity, and learning was prescriptive. Today educators are expected to differentiate and personalize among students, and to center their practice on the learner, not the curriculum. How do we prepare teachers and community educators to be what Mr. Schleicher calls “knowledge workers” who can helm a 21st Century classroom?
No one has all the answers, but this new report (PDF, 4.1 MB) from OECD details best practices from around the world.