Friday, March 25, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

So I've been reading this book for the past couple weeks. It came to me via my brother. He handed me a library copy, and he said he had purchased a copy for me, too. (It's hard to resist this sort of thing, even if you're uncertain!)

The title is 21st CENTURY SKILLS: LEARNING FOR LIFE IN OUR TIMES by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel. You can learn more about the whole concept here at Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

There's tons of stuff in cyberspace about this book. For example there is an NCTE skills map here, based on this book.

The thing that I'm so struck by is that the concepts and skills discussed in the book were sooo present in my class room in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Collaboration, creative problems solving, learning by doing, communication, real life learning, etc. Those types of things are so much more limited by specified curriculum and testing demands and so on.

I find this book both hopeful for the potential and discouraging for the current state of affairs.I find it all very frustrating. In my heart I know what and how to do it, but I feel like my hands are tied. Are we sacrificing something great on the alter of something good that can be easily measured by standardized tests? Did we take a step forward, only to take two (or three or four) steps back?

Do you ever feel this way?

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