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Charlie A. Roy

I love the ideas above and can comiserate with your last paragraph about those lovely cherubs that just don't seem to be ready and enjoy making life miserable for everyone else. My school is setting goals for these students for the coming school year. Should be fun.

Justin B.

No one has an "answer" and I would posit that it is not really that beneficial to spend a lot of time looking for "one." It is not a matter of blaming the "system" or imagining new "solutions" ... it is more a matter of doing what we do better (and continuing to ask for more help). All the points you listed above could also have been written in 1950. We all know how we could do things a little better and that is where we need to start. Using a little more technology and a few fewer worksheets. Using a little more group work and a little less lecture. Letting students be a little more creative and have a bit more fun. And doing the best you can, and being as flexible as you can, for your "lovely cherubs that just don't seem to be ready," as Charlie says.

Everyone states the "problem" as this massive global conundrum and I think the natural response to that is attempt to find solutions on a similar scale. That, I think, is a mistake. Your point about starting with staff and raising expectations slightly from year to year I think is a good recommendation for a place to start.

Kelly Christopherson

Justin, I agree that it's about doing a little at a time. However, I don't agree that these would have been skills listed in 1950. In fact, I'm not sure they were skills 20 odd years ago when I was in school. There was no focus on communication skills beyond writing, group and collaborative work was, well, almost non-existent except in PE, producing high-quality material was important but had better fit with what the teacher thought and the world that existed was about 200 km in radius. As I watch my own children grow and go through school, they are being exposed to so many different ideas and opinions outside school but it's not necessarily happening in school - not the teachers' fault. The world has been changing and evolving and we are, indeed, seeing some things that we really didn't see before, like the manifestation of female bullying like we've not seen before, that are affecting our schools. I don't think it's a "massive global conundrum" but I do think it's more than a passing fancy.
As for doing a little bit more here and there, that would be great but, in reality, we aren't doing that. In many schools and classrooms where I've taught and been an administrator, there has been very little change. In discussing with partners around the globe, there has been little change. It would be quite wonderful if, each year, we saw little changes and new things making their way into each teacher's classroom but we don't. For me, this is a two-fold thing - I have 7 children who will pass through the halls of various schools to enter into a somewhat murky future and I want the best that they can have but, as an administrator, I know that schools cannot keep up with the pace of change so I'm aware there will be somethings that students will be able to do outside of school that won't happen inside. Still, the gap is rather large right now and not shrinking. So, we either start doing that little now or we'll be faced with doing much more in the near future.

As for "the answer", that's rhetorical, asking people to begin to think about what was said and reflect upon it in relation to what they, themselves, are doing. Of course there is no "one answer" but there are many smaller answers that each of us bring. Of course, we have to be asked the questions first and part of my role as an educational leader is to do just that.

Charlie, we're thinking along the same lines in our school. We don't have a well established set of guidelines and we need to have one so that we can remove what I call the "mall" factor - we're a place that is warm and safe and where they can find their friends so they come and hang out. Like you said, should be fun;)

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