Ange Lang – Teaching and Learning Portfolio

Gathered Teaching Resources and Information

Reflection on 21st Century Learning/Teaching – Week 2

From what we have learnt thus far about behaviorist theories and classical conditioning it makes sense that we diversify our teaching approach from what it has traditionally valued.  The fact that we don’t know what the world our students will live in will be like or what the world will value it seems arrogant to assume that the subjects we have always valued are the only way forward.

Not only this but to only train students in one way for one type of learner means that we could be turning off the potential of a vast majority. To my mind who are we to say we value this type of learner more than that type. We certainly don’t know what type of learner society will value more than another. So to condition people who struggle to think in the traditional way that they are not as praise worthy as others is a little ridiculous and largely unfair.
That is not to say that students shouldn’t experience disappointment or other potentially negative experiences that build resilience. Rather we should give those students the same chance to succeed. If their talents aren’t valued and reinforced  they will be conditioned to believe they have nothing of value to offer which isn’t true.
Because many adults experienced this at school and consequently became disenfranchised by the system, if school wasn’t ‘school’ anymore – engaging with the community better, not a classroom with desks on rows and teacher at the front, only valuing one type of learner – we may potentially get back their buy in. This may lead to an extinction of their negative feelings (their conditioned response) toward school in some communities and in turn help to break the cycle of school not being seen as an important activity/place. This would thereby increase the results the school could achieve not just because of its new pedagogy but also in part due to the more positive attitude of the greater community.

What is 21st Century Learning?

Some Definitions of what 21st Century Learning is/encompasses:

21st Century Learning is about how not what is taught. That is to say that current/previous educational structures or practices need to evolve or reform, challenging the traditional roles of ‘teacher’ (imparting knowledge) and ‘pupil’ (receiving knowledge) so a collaborative approach is used to generate new solutions to complex problems by applying knowledge from a range of different curriculum areas. Source

“A teacher with 21st-century skills and tools is one who can integrate strong communication skills with manageable technology skills”. Source

“Learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century and beyond.” Source 

Leanne – “Schools are expected to prepare students for a complex and rapidly changing world. In addition to teaching subject content, schools are expected to develop young people who are information and media literate; critical thinkers and problem solvers; communicators and team players.” Source

“21st century learning refers to the skills, technologies and insights that leading-edge educators, companies and organisations are using to create learning systems that are better suited to the emerging challenges of the 21st century” Source

“Education can dislocate people from their natural talents…human resources, like natural resources, are buried deep. You have to go looking for them beneath the surface and create the circumstances where they reveal themselves.” (Sir Ken Robinson, 2010, “Bring on the Learning Revolution”, TED TALKS.) Robinson (2010) presents 21st century learning as the need for creating an environment that provides the opportunity to explore each individuals’ diversity, talents and abilities. It depends greatly on revolutionising the standardised linear educational model of the past and the customisation of it for the future.

21st century learning is described as something ‘different’ from the practices of the day.  It encompasses an ’emerging cluster of new idea, beliefs, knowledge, theories and practices…’  which exist to different degrees in different situations. Source

Teaching in a way that allows for the different learning capabilities of each child, and avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach. Learning needs to be interactive and adaptable so that students can put what they’re learning into real world contexts and reinforce that learning.

‘Great teachers using digital technology with certified computing skills will be the most powerful educators of the 21st century’. Source

“What is 21st Century Learning? It is bold.  It breaks the mold.  It is flexible, creative, challenging, and complex.  It addresses a rapidly changing world filled with fantastic new problems as well as exciting new possibilities.” Source