There is a lot of pressure on teachers to prepare students for whatever life may bring – whether it’s subject matter they need to be able to quickly recall as they progress in higher education or the collaboration and communication skills they’ll need as they enter an increasingly globalized workforce.
We checked in with our community of educators for World Teachers’ Day to find out how they ensure their students are as prepared for Common Core and state-mandated assessments as they are for life after school. Read below to see why “soft skills” like collaboration and critical thinking are becoming more important than ever, and how teachers are incorporating them into lesson plans.
Miriam McKone, 5th grade teacher at Shadow Forest Elementary in Kingwood, TX:“Preparing students for life after graduation is challenging yet critical because there are so many influences competing for their attention, like social media, smartphones and video games. It is so important that students learn to collaborate and work in groups, and it has to be fun and engaging too so they grow their imagination and problem solving skills.
“I brought this to life in my classroom for a recent history lesson. My students transformed themselves into a character from the lesson, an early American colonist, and presented their reasons for coming to America after researching in groups to defend their thinking. I call it a ‘story drama,’ and it gives the entire class a chance to see history in action, plus work together to learn, ask questions and retain deeper knowledge.”
Nan Munsey, retired 5th-8th grade teacher, Indian River School in Canaan, NH:“Students are living and learning in a world of media overload. When they graduate, they will be required to make decisions quickly based on information they will need to evaluate for its accuracy. Learning to think critically, distinguish fact from opinion and understand consequences of decisions will make them better global citizens.”
What tips do you have for teaching skills that give students the confidence to navigate challenges both in and out of the classroom? Share them in the comments below and read more about how education technology can help.
- Hour of Code: Cracking the Code for 21st Century Skills - December 6, 2016
- Implementing Classroom Technology: Download the Free e-Book - November 15, 2016
- Teachers’ Balancing Act: How to Prepare Students for Life in and out of the Classroom - October 5, 2016
- All Children Can Learn: How Global Collaboration Changes Lives - June 22, 2016
- Don’t Miss These SMART ISTE 2016 Activities - June 14, 2016