Real world problem-solving
Oct 18, 2012 | 2434 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week we reported on an innovative teaching approach being undertaken at Twin Valley Middle School in Whitingham. In a nutshell, teachers are borrowing from private industry, taking modern-world team building and developmental techniques and applying them to school learning. By doing so, the hope is to prepare students for real-world situations and give them the kind of adaptable skills that will be needed for success in the 21st century.

Innovation, problem solving, time management, and collaboration make up the foundation of this program. Interestingly enough, those are some of the core skills that propel the most successful enterprises, large and small.

Schools can’t be anchored to outdated thinking. The “Three Rs” are still essential, but how those core skills are applied has changed dramatically. What was cutting edge 15 years ago, such as the underpinnings of No Child Left Behind, is mostly old news, and proving to be ineffective for the modern and future worlds. It’s time to add a fourth “R” for “real world” learning.

There are numerous innovative educational programs around the region and state, indeed across the entire country. What we are seeing locally is a microcosm of what is going in the real world of teaching: preparing students for the real world.

We would urge our political leaders to pay attention to what is happening in the most innovative of classrooms. Leaders need to leave the dogma behind and work to find real solutions.

As the current political debates drone on, little appears to be said about education and its role in job creation. There has been posturing over reports of recent college grads unable to find appropriate work. But little is said about whether or not those graduates have pursued the kinds of education that will lead to getting hired, let alone successful careers. That is one of the central unspoken issues linking education and job creation, and it is continually missed by the majority of candidates.

Quite honestly, there are employers out there right now who are looking for qualified workers. What leaders have to understand is that our education system needs to create young adults with the skill sets needed to perform those jobs.

If we truly want to create jobs, we first need to create the underlying foundation of educated, adaptable workers. Much of that foundation will be the young adults our school systems educate in the coming years. Every school, every teacher, every administrator, at every level, needs to be cognizant of that need. Schools and the staff who run them owe it to their students, and to the greater goal of life beyond the four walls of educational institutions.

It is refreshing to see that innovation taking place here in the valley. As schools continue to evolve in an ever-changing world, they must prepare young adults who can be successful in that world.
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