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The Challenge

By LeaderTalk Contributor — May 04, 2009 1 min read
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My office was literally covered in post-it notes as I sat staring in frustration over a challenge posed to me by a colleague, mentor, and inspirational leader: what is your top ten list of tools for teachers?

For nearly a month, I wrestled with this question with NOTHING to show for it but a bunch of post-it notes with fragmented tools that meant little in terms of teaching and learning when shown in isolation. Then I realized why I was struggling; it went against everything I believed about instructional technology and education. So, I shifted the question and that is exactly the move my colleague expected and sought - pedagogy not tools is the focus!

What are ten methodologies and values all classrooms should exhibit?

This is a challenging yet vital question for all educators to negotiate as we continue to discuss what it means to be well-educated in the 21st Century and what that profile means for teaching and learning. While I am still painting this picture and it is a collaborative painting, here is an initial list for discussion and debate:

- Quality of Thought: Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Interdisciplinary, Meta-Cognitive, Multi-Sensory, Knowledge Transfer, Community, Flexibility, Synergy, Design, Listening, Innovation, Risk-Taking, Independent
- Participatory Learning: Play, Performance, Multi-tasking, Collective Intelligence, Judgment, Networking, Simulation, Appropriation, Distributed Cognition, Visualization, Negotiation, and Transliteracy
- Inquiry-based Learning (problem/project): Research, Collaboration, Design, Present, Contribute, and Reflect
- Connective Learning
- Differentiated and Customized Learning
- Cooperative and Collaborative Learning
- Authentic
- Transformative Assessment and Data Use
- Brain-Based
- Higher-Order Thinking and Questioning

Would this be the types of classrooms that would engage students? ignite their passions? build genius? create well-educated, global citizens capable of competing, connecting, and contributing in the 21st Century?

If not, what values, methodologies, and pedagogical practices should each classroom in your school should exhibit?

Start there and begin this conversation with your school today. After all, isn’t it time we begin shifting our organizational mindsets on teaching and learning?

Image by Peter Gerdes

Ryan Bretag is the Coordinator of Instructional Technology at Glenbrook North High School

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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