Teachers Think Ahead

Posted: October 28, 2010

District 16 teachers gathered together at James M Hill High School to give thoughtful consideration of education in today’s society during Curriculum Implementation Day, October 27th.  In a world of instant global communication, changing values and digital social networking, the classroom can become a place where authentic, relevant and personalized learning can happen. The key note presentation included a quick overview of today’s society and the role of education in it. That was followed by a review of many initiatives already taking place in district schools that meet the criteria for twenty-first century teaching and learning. The list of competencies needed in today’s society includes; critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, global citizenship and personal development. Although these are not new terms for educators, the list reflects the employability skills identified by the Conference Board of Canada that people need now and for the future. Today’s schools need to be part of society and the once insular classroom become part of the reality where learners are engaged with the world around them. During the professional development day local educators heard from English teacher Shawn Corey of Sir James Dunn  Academy in St. Andrews. He  gave a very personal account of how his approach to teaching has changed dramatically in the last year or so, using an approach called Project Based Learning. He has been able to bring the realities of today’s world into his classroom and still meet the curriculum requirements of his courses. The small group sessions that followed the 90 minute opening presentations gave teachers a chance to talk about how they may extend much of what they are already doing in the classroom to incorporate many of the ideas presented to them earlier. Emphasis was placed on the fact that learning takes place in the “processes” used with a de-emphasis on the “products”, that digital technology, although very useful, is only a tool, and that teachers are already employing suitable strategies, they just need to be extended and perhaps some priorities need adjusting. With the exception of Mr. Corey from NB School District 10, the day’s program content and delivery was entirely the responsibility of District 16 educators, exemplifying collaboration and self reliance. Indications are that it was very well received by those attending. To view photos visit http://www.district16.nbed.nb.ca/gallery/ci-day-20101027 .