From academics-only to learning to learn and applying academics

In traditional education, academic proficiency is paramount. That’s why traditional schools emphasize literacy and numeracy above all else. That’s why they try to cover a huge number of standards, even when it means covering them at a shallow level. Now, there’s no doubt that literacy and numeracy matter. But there is a problem with the only academic content model of traditional education: It doesn’t actually give kids what they need to be successful in college, careers, and the ever changing world! Here’s why not.

  • The social emotional matters. Research shows that students need to feel safety, belonging, and emotional wellness to learn. The mind shift toward modern education means prioritizing social emotional awareness, regulation, and wellbeing.
  • Lifelong learning requires specific skills. Students need more than literacy and numeracy to thrive in the world. They need what employers and researchers call lifelong learning skills: reflection, planning, self-regulation, and problem solving. The mind shift to modern education means giving kids tools to manage and apply their learning.
  • Deeper learning lasts. When traditional schools focus on breadth over depth, they don’t give kids the chance to form deep or enduring understanding. In other words, broad and narrow doesn’t stick. Deep and enduring does. The mind shift toward modern education means emphasizing deep learning.

Questions to Consider:

  • How does your school or district define student success?
  • What does data suggest about your students’ readiness for real world application and their next stages of learning (high school, college, career)? What feedback do you receive from families, colleges, and employers? Are you preparing students with what they need to thrive?
  • How does your school or district support social emotional, lifelong and deeper learning? To what extent are they priorities? What resources are allocated?
  • What would it look like to broaden your definition of student success? Who should you engage in this visioning process? What support will teachers and students need? What changes will need to happen in instruction and assessment?