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Changing our Paradigm

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


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.

Male teachers provide important role models

Ed Source – Josh Brown

“Like Ernesto, too many boys grow up without a strong male role model at home — or at school. This gender disparity in the teaching profession is unfortunate because it is critically important for young boys to see positive male role models in their lives. Qualities that make a great teacher, like patience and sympathy, are not typically associated with men. By modeling these character traits, male teachers can shape their students’ ethical compass and might even inspire them to become teachers themselves. As much as young men look up to sports figures, a strong male role model in the front of the classroom can positively influence the emotional development of his students, especially boys.”(more)

Next steps for building an inclusive STEM workforce

SmartBlog on Education – Mina Dixon

“What will it take to ignite a student’s interest in a science, technology, engineering or math field? And how can stakeholders encourage women – who make up close to 50% of the US workforce, but comprise less than 25% of the STEM labor pool, data suggest –to pursue these 21st-century jobs? Strategies to build a representative workforce include early access to STEM education, role models and real-world relevance, according to Kathy Hurley, CEO and co-founder of Girls Thinking Global…Good programs that are working to bridge the STEM gender gap often share common characteristics, Hurley suggested. They avoid jargon and highlight how STEM concepts are used to address global issues.”(more)

How to Course Correct STEM Education to Include Girls

EdTech – Sylvia Libow Martinez

“In a perfect world, all people would have equal opportunity to achieve their professional goals. But the reality is not perfect for women in the workforce. In many science, technology, engineering and math fields, especially in engineering and programming, women are under­represented…Many schools have found success in helping more girls through STEM courses. We know what works: role models, mentors, encouragement and special opportunities. But schools can do more to make STEM courses more accessible for all students. Introduce real-world topics, real research, real projects, real tools and tangible technology to STEM subjects. That attracts not only girls but any students who are uninterested in dry textbook science…While changing deeply embedded culture and established curriculum may seem like an impossible challenge, it’s something that simply has to be done.”(more)

Who says girls aren’t good at STEM?

She Knows – Mayim Bialik

“You don’t need to be a mathematician to know there is gender disparity when it comes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in this country…How do we reverse this trend?…when I was about 15 years old and filming Blossom, I had a tutor who was the first female role model in science I ever had. She showed me that someone could be as passionate about biology as I thought you could only be about art or poetry….But girls like me shouldn’t have to wait until high school to meet a female role model in the sciences! We should be exposing female students to strong female STEM role models as early as possible — in elementary school.”(more)