There were five thoughtful articles on educational issues this week that I’m sharing with you in case you missed them. They are all well worth reading and discussing.
1. When I was a doctoral student at Hofstra University in the 1990s, it made sense to talk about “21st century skills.” But I have to admit that when some of my colleagues in the Smithtown School District continued to use that phrase a decade into the new millennium, I secretly cringed. In her Huffington Post article, A 21st Education is SO Last Century, Lydia Dobyns cogently makes the point:
“It’s empty phraseology designed to sound like we are preparing for the future when we are already living in that future; and no one believes that what passes for a typical classroom today will be the classroom experience even 10 years from now, let alone for the next 87 years.”
2. Thinking about the future, David Young and J.B. Buxton write about Language Education We Can Use in Education Week. They suggest that we overhaul language programs to ensure that they are in “tune with the demands of states, businesses, and parents to better prepare students for the global world in which they will live and work.” This is definitely something to think about.
3. On the topic of educational reform, PBS aired a Frontline documentary this week (“The Education of Michelle Rhee”) about Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools and the founder and CEO of the StudentsFirst advocacy organization. Veteran education journalist John Merrow (Learning Matters) covered Rhee during her volatile three years in D.C. for the documentary. Emily Richmond, public editor of the National Education Writers Association, interviewed him about the documentary and Rhee’s complicated legacy.
4. Peter DeWitt raises very important questions about guns, TV and video game violence, and mental health in his Education Week piece, Does America Have A Violence Problem?
“We need to have open discussions about mental health and deal with America’s violent mentality. We need to look to the media, parents, society and what our children are allowed to watch on television. Schools are trying to teach students that fighting isn’t the answer at the same time they watch it as the only answer on television. Many parents monitor what their children see, but it seems to be getting harder and harder every year. We need children to actually be children.”
5. On a one-to-one level, Dr. Michele Borba offers invaluable parenting advice for parents whose children have anger management issues or are unable to handle impulses. Her wise suggestions are a must read for parents who want specific real-world suggestions on how to help kids find healthier ways to control strong impulses, overwhelming feelings, aggression and inappropriate outbursts. For example, she offers techniques to recognize your child’s anger warning signs and ways to develop a feeling vocabulary. This is a great resource for parents who live with this problem.