This seems like a lot of work, and for what? Why are we always being asked to change and innovate?
Sir Ken Robinson, a leading advocate for innovation in education, says that,
“Innovation is hard because it means doing something that people don’t find very easy. It means challenging what we take for granted.”
This is challenging work, but it is important work right now! We are preparing students for a world that is vastly different than it was twenty years ago, let alone the world in which our education system was first created over a hundred years ago. Our students are entering a global environment unlike any experience in the past, and are entering a workforce where the top employer expectations are more different than the “factory model” of the past. In a 2013 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top five skills employers say they seek are:
- Obtain and process information
- Work in a team
- Make decisions and solve problems
- Plan, organize, and prioritize work
- Communicate verbally with people inside and outside the organization
These types of skills are valued in today’s economy. Personalizing education for our students is a means to ensure our kids are not exposed to them for the first time once they leave school.
It would be better to describe this as a different process, in contrast to hard. We will still be using curriculum materials like we have always done, but they may be adapted differently. We will continue to use Professional Learning Communities to talk about student progress, but will have real-time data to help guide decisions. Good teaching has always put student needs at the center, and great teaching has always differentiated instruction for individual student needs—going forward we will have better tools and training to fulfill that promise to our students.