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Thinking differently in education to deliver breadth of skills

Brookings – Rebecca Winthrop, Eileen McGivney and Timothy P. Williams

“Schools, teachers, parents, and students in rich and poor countries alike must transform the teaching and learning environment to catch up and keep pace with rapid advances in technology, major changes to the world of work, and to solve complex global challenges. This means mastering literacy, numeracy, and content in traditional academic subjects, but also requires young people who can think critically, solve problems and collaborate with diverse groups of people. Rather than a narrow set of competencies, education must deliver the breadth of skills urgently needed not only in the labor market but also for helping solve some of the most world’s most pressing social problems…The good news is that there is renewed global consensus to do just this.”(more)

How To Raise Brilliant Children, According To Science

NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz

“”Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?” When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a “Just because.” You can explain: “Red is for stop and green is for go.” Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement. No parent, teacher or caregiver has the time or patience to respond perfectly to all of the many, many, many opportunities like these that come along. But a new book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, is designed to get us thinking about the magnitude of these moments. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the book’s co-author, compares the challenge to climate change. “What we do with little kids today will matter in 20 years,” she says. “If you don’t get it right, you will have an unlivable environment. That’s the crisis I see.””(more)

Why America’s Business Majors Are in Desperate Need of a Liberal-Arts Education

The Atlantic – Yoni Appelbaum

“American undergraduates are flocking to business programs, and finding plenty of entry-level opportunities. But when businesses go hunting for CEOs or managers, “they will say, a couple of decades out, that I’m looking for a liberal arts grad,” said Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program. That presents a growing challenge to colleges and universities. Students are clamoring for degrees that will help them secure jobs in a shifting economy, but to succeed in the long term, they’ll require an education that allows them to grow, adapt, and contribute as citizens—and to build successful careers. And it’s why many schools are shaking up their curricula to ensure that undergraduate business majors receive something they may not even know they need—a rigorous liberal-arts education…business majors seem to be graduating with some of the technical skills they’ll need to secure jobs, but without having made the gains in writing or critical-thinking skills they’ll require to succeed over the course of their careers…”(more)

Redefining Education to Include More Meaningful Critical Thinking

The Huffington Post – Nichlas Emmons

“In a recent professional development session with a small group of teachers, our conversation evolved into deeply philosophical questions surrounding the purpose of education. One experienced teacher expressed dissatisfaction in teaching now that so much importance is placed on passing standardized tests because this instruction emphasizes teaching content only necessary to pass the test. Another, fairly new, teacher commented that even her college preparation mostly taught her how to adjust lessons to meet various state and federal academic standards. The teacher sitting next to her immediately replied with, “It just seems like we are not really supposed to teach.” The rest of the conversation led into the purpose of teaching and of education.”(more)

What Future Leaders Need to Learn in College

Fortune – Geoff Colvin

“To all the brand new college graduates who majored in a liberal arts field, I have a message: If you want to be a leader, you did the right thing. This is a controversial message at a time when…America’s dearth of STEM majors is conventionally viewed as a serious problem. None of that is wrong. Coding is becoming the literacy of the modern economy, and everyone should be conversant with it…here’s a message for students about to enter college: College isn’t trade school. Whether you major in a liberal arts field or STEM or anything else, you emerge not with the skills that will make you successful at a specific company but rather with a foundation for more learning. As advancing technology takes over more of the world’s left-brain work, the skills of deep human interaction, of leadership, are increasingly in demand. What a liberal arts education gives you – critical thinking, clear communication, the lessons of Homer – is growing more valuable, not less.”(more)

How to Make a Liberal Arts Degree a Career Asset

Fortune – Anne Fisher

“Plenty of research supports the idea that STEM degrees, although they’re in big demand, are not the only horse in the race. Two recent employer surveys from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, for instance, show that four skills outrank technical knowledge and computer proficiency on employers’ wish lists: Critical thinking/problem-solving, work ethic, teamwork, and strong oral and written communications. Not only that, but those “soft” skills matter more as people progress in their careers…Still worried? Of course you are. So here are three practical suggestions you might pass along to your daughter (if she’ll listen).”(more)