Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mad Love for Tony Wagner

    I admit it, I have an intellectual crush on Tony Wagner. I {> him. My friends and colleagues are sick to death hearing about me extol the virtues of the mighty TW. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for Daniel Pink, John Medina, Richard Arum, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Carol Tomlinson, Jay McTighe, etc. but I always come back to Tony Wagner. He hits the nail on the head as far as how we need to THINK about students, learning, change, leadership, education  . . . it's not what is taught that matters, it is what is learned.

 Teaching ALL students NEW skills is a new education challenge that requires development of new accountability structures, different ways of teaching and testing, and new ways of working together and with our students. The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner.

     In case you are not familiar with The Global Achievement Gap, Tony suggests that there are seven survival skills our students need to learn in order to be successful 21st century citizens: 

1.Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

2.Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence

3.Agility and Adaptability

4.Initiative and Entrepreneurialism

5.Effective Oral and Written Communication

6.Accessing and Analyzing Information

7.Curiosity and Imagination

     He advocates for schools to develop strategies for instruction/assessment of the BIG 3 C's:
  1. critical and creative thinking
  2. communication
  3. collaboration

     Thanks to social media, we can accomplish this challenge. Really. It's not rocket science. We just need to move out of our comfort zone. How about all those A.P. classes? If we must have them, then does it take all that much energy to push students to ask the right questions past the same old Powerpoint presentation? Maybe ask those questions across collaborative networks? To communicate those answers articulately (through Skype classrooms?), concisely (through Twitter?),  and creatively (well, pick your favorite medium . . . I think we have some choice here). Pat Bassett, president of NAIS, wrote a great riff off these ideas: Demonstrations of Learning for 21st Century Schools. (Really wonderful, insightful article.)

     So yes, I am a FAN. I cannot wait until Tony's new book comes out: Learning to Innovate, Innovating to Learn: What The Best Parents, Teachers & Employers Do And Why It Matters AND I am hoping to catch the documentary about his experience touring Finland's schools, The Finland Phenomenon (see interview at Huff Post   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-m-rubin/finland-education_b_868781.html.) 

     Tony is still at Harvard, but in a new position, Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. If you are interested in some great summer reading, The Global Achievement Gap is in paperback and IBooks. Enjoy! 

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