I have been fortunate enough to hear Bill Daggett present information related to AASA's Learning 2025 initiative at several conferences over the last year. One would think that a session about the same topic over the course of a year would be stale and there wouldn't be much room for new learning. Wrong! The information that Bill and his colleagues present is always evolving and is a perfect example of schools need to do over the next few years, evolve. There was a lot of powerful information shared during the session, however, I found the most impactful phrase to be, “We have an instructional design issue because we have a workforce design issue.”
We all know that our profession has changed very little since the late 1800's. This has a direct impact on how our students are learning, especially when considering that everything around the schoolhouse has changed dramatically in that time. Currently, the highest quintile jobs in our country require significant social skills.
In fact, the most important skills needed to be successful in the workforce today are at the opposite end of the importance spectrum that we address in schools today. There is too much emphasis on cognitive skills, which is where the instructional redesign comes into play. The good news, this is all information that we already know and most people agree that something needs to evolve. So how do we do it? Non-academic instructors (arts, coaches, TAs, custodians, secretaries, etc) currently have the best skills and most knowledge on how to reach students and instruct in a way that is meaningful for kids, but they are generally listened to the least.
If you haven't caught one of these sessions yet over the last year, I would encourage you to check it out. While most of the information provided is probably something you would say you know, Bill and his team challenge us to think and question. That there is the very definition of teaching and learning. The future is bright, but only if we work together. Don't let the dust collect on the shelf. We have enough information and research on what needs to be done, we know how to do it, now let's go and get it done!
“You can get all A’s and still flunk life.” ~ Walker Percy