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How to help students avoid the remedial ed trap

The Hechinger Report – Jill Barshay

“No question, remedial education needs an overhaul. Millions of young adults get trapped in rudimentary math and English classes that don’t earn them college credits but still cost the same tuition. More than two-thirds of all community college students and 40 percent of undergraduates in four-year colleges have to start with at least one developmental education class, in the euphemistic jargon of higher education. The majority of these students drop out without degrees.” (more)

Seven skills your teen needs to learn before entering college or university

The Toronto Star – Shannon Reed

“In my job teaching college English and creative writing, I hold individual conferences with my freshmen every semester, and this year’s were a doozy: One young woman wanted me to help her with a criminal complaint; one young man sought advice on finding a neurologist; and another student asked me how debit cards are different from credit cards.” (more)

Changing our Paradigm

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Technology is changing so fast, it is impossible to know what the world will be like in a year, much less four or five. Just 25 years ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, mobile phones were just gaining popularity, and genetically modified foods were not yet on the market. Now we are worried about biological computers, electronic currencies, and the health impacts of genetically modified foods.

For decades, education experts encouraged schools to track kids into narrow areas like molecular biology, medieval history, copyright law, or Fortran programming. As technology advanced, the lines between disciplines began to disappear and some areas vanished.

Now a person’s long-term employment prospects are based on his/her ability to quickly learn new things, interact with others, and change. This means everyone needs a strong understanding of all the disciplines including the arts, math, history, science, languages, etc. In addition, employers need people who can communicate, listen, and empathize with others; have a strong work ethic; and possess good character. This means our kids need a completely different type of education than we did when we were growing up.

Here is a list of the skill gaps that exist in our education system and parenting approaches.


1. Ability to think critically and assess and analyze information
The problem often develops in elementary school. Primary school teachers need strong proficiency in this area.
2. Collaborative/Influential
Students need practice working with others. Schools are not structured to provide exposure to different ages.
3. Agile/Adaptable
Schools/parents want stability. Students need exposure to change.
4. Initiative
Students need opportunities to start new programs, etc.
5. Effective Written and Oral Communication
Schools need step by step teaching approaches and effective ways to assess proficiency.
6. Curious, Imaginative, Creative
Schools should foster these abilities with short creative blocks during the teaching day.
7. Ethical
Parents need to demonstrate acceptable behavior.
8. Polished and Courteous
Parents need to teach their children basic life skills – allow others to finish speaking before you begin, chew with your mouth closed, etc.
9. Well-read
Parents should discuss world affairs and technological advances with their kids.
10. Strong work ethic
Parents need to teach their children about self-discipline, punctuality, follow-through, etc. and then allow them to experience consequences when they do not deliver.

Once we realize what worked in the 1900s no longer makes sense today, we can work together to make sure our kids are ready for life on their own.

The urgent need to get more women involved in technology

The Toronto Star – Katherine Manuel

“There is a problem in the technology sector that too few are tackling, let alone talking about. A recent Brookfield report found only 9 per cent of software developers in Canada are female. Women’s participation in the technology sector has remained between 23 per cent and 25 per cent for well over a decade.” (more)

Dealing with digital distraction

The Hechinger Report – Chris Berdik

“In K-12 and college classrooms across the country, some educators are enacting at least partial device bans, some are advocating for teaching style changes (fewer lectures, for example) and still others are seeking help from the technology itself. There’s little consensus, except that the peril of digital distraction neither starts nor ends in school, and learning to tame our tech obsession is a new and vital life skill.” (more)