21st Century Student: The role of School

21st Century Student: The role of School

The entire globe is grappling today with an unbelievable rise in violence, crime and depression and worrisome deterioration in the societal moral bearing, responsible citizenship as well as employability skills; with growing number of complex socio-emotional and environmental challenges. At the same time Education, Innovation, Technology & Employability have emerged as the biggest riders for our successful sustenance on this planet. In order to ensure that our students can thrive successfully in 21st century, our schools and our education system will have to keep pace with the changing time.  To prepare students for their future, we need to first understand what the future looks like.

Success is no longer just about what we know. Now we have Google for that.  But the real power lies in what we can do with what we know; how we can we effective use it to resolve the challenges at work. Therefore, the schools need to prepare their students to live and work in a world in which most people will need to collaborate with people whose ideas, beliefs, perspectives and values are different from their own; a Global biome in which  individual lives would be affected by issues that surpass their own national boundaries.

Nurturing successfully, the students of 21st century is the call of accountability & it’s preparation starts with creating a positive school culture with a safe and caring environment with values and empathy for people and environment, embedded in the entire length and breadth of the school climate shared values and relational trust, a powerful pedagogy and curriculum, high student motivation and engagement, a professional faculty culture, and partnerships with families and the community.

The schools therefore essentially need to integrate the creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills required of world class workers and ethical citizens & prioritize the depth not breadth of learning, promote cross-disciplinary, team-based problem solving, adapting to the emerging advances in digital technologies & preparing students for working lives that may span a range of occupations, many of which may not currently exist.

To reach there, schools must minimize the substantial body of factual and procedural knowledge and consciously optimize the ability of students to apply what they are learning to everyday problems, to apply fundamental concepts and principles in real-world contexts. Rather than emphasizing passive and reproductive learning, there is a growing need to promote creativity and innovation. At a time when solutions to societal challenges and the nature of work are becoming increasingly cross-disciplinary; we need to teach the School subjects, in integration with each other.

Teaching and assessment processes, besides just teaching and testing the factual information, must focus at nurturing the students’ abilities to work in teams, use technology, communicate, solve problems and learn on the job. For that, our curriculum must create opportunities so as our young aspirants get to  brainstorm , have group discussions and work Collaboratively , which would also help in acquiring good interpersonal and communication skills. The three key ingredients for such a responsive school would be the empowered teachers, effective school leaders & the innovative approaches going hand in hand with technological advancements.

The sustainable design for a 21st century school has to predominantly have the Self-life-long learning format of pedagogy which has become almost inevitable to success, today. Our rapidly drifting economy puts a high premium on self-motivation, innovation, and the ability to acquire new skills and evaluate new ideas. Fortunately, this empowerment is innate to all human beings; it exists in every child. We simply have to stop discouraging or quashing it and educate our children to emerge winners in the examination of life.

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By Anuradha Govind
J M International School, Dwarka, New Delhi

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