Filling the Global Achievement Gap

I listened today to Tony Wagner’s presentation (based on his book: The Global Achievement Gap) about the essential skills required for young people to enter the workforce today.  The seven surivival skills he identified are:

  1. critical thinking and problem solving including asking good questions and engaging in good
  2. ability to collaborate across networks and the ability to lead by influence
  3. adaptability and agility
  4. initiative and sense of entrepreneurship
  5. communication skills: oral and written skills
  6. access and analysing information (information literacy skills)
  7. curiousity and imagination

In his presentation, Tony identifies the disparity that exists between what schools are teaching and what is required by employers. After interviewing a considerable number of employers and observing classes including those in high-performing schools, his observations include passive learning environments preparing students for memorisation tests to meet assessment criteria and little evidence of critical and creative thinking opportunities and effective communications.

For many educators who try to induce change, this is not new information.  Schools are overburdened with assessment criteria to show successful outcomes.  As Tony says, this is at the expense of  kids being prepared for the 21st century of work.  The more we hear about change and what is needed the better!  Only today I was wondering why some schools have a policy that no ipods are allowed – what about the potential of these tools for learning?  Kids are using them out of school, why not utilise their use in school?

Tony has written the Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don’t Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship–and What We Can Do About It, to motivate all those interested in education to help young people succeed in the 21st century.  The book includes chapters on The New World of Work, The Old World of School,  Testing, Reinventing Educatioon, Motivating Students: Closing The Gap,

Teachers are discussing the book’s contents at  Classroom 2.0 social network for anyone interested.