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Guest Thinkers

Globalization and education

[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

The latest issue of AASA‘s The School Administrator is on the topic of globalization and education. LeaderTalk‘s very own Dr. Terry Holliday, Superintendent of the Iredell-Statesville (NC) Schools, is one of the primary authors! Here’s an excerpt from Terry’s article:

I have been amazed at English teachers who have figured out how to get students really excited about writing by using blogs, wikis and web pages. As a musician, I am overwhelmed by the creativity of classrooms using computer-based piano labs, midi-interfaces and software to create and edit music manuscripts in minutes that used to take me days to complete. I visit our auto-tech classes and marvel at the students’ ability to perform computer-based diagnostics and read technical manuals that are well beyond high school reading levels.

I am certain many school administrators, teachers, parents and students share this inner conflict between logic and creativity. I finally figured out the answer. It’s best captured by Rick and Becky DuFour, consultants on professional learning communities, who talk about write about the genius of “and” vs. the tyranny of “or.”

Dr. Yong Zhao, Director of the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence at Michigan State University, writes in his article about globally-aware education in an era of AYP:

As educators … we are charged with a much more important task than responding to bureaucratic requirements – the moral responsibility to prepare students to lead successful lives. People may have different opinions about what a successful life is, but it should certainly include financial independence, competent participation in community life and positive contributions to society. Schools should at least equip students with the attitudes, perspectives, skills and knowledge that will help them find and keep a job, interact with their co-workers and neighbors and understand as well as make informed decisions about issues affecting society.

The specific attitudes, skills and knowledge schools aim to cultivate should be responsive to changes in society. What was important before may be irrelevant today …

And then there’s this gem of a quote from Dr. Arthur Shostak, professor emeritus of sociology at Drexel University:

For too long K-12 schooling has lacked an emphatic and rewarding focus on the future, even though futurism should be everyone’s “second profession.” In our bold new world of ubiquitous computing, versatile electronic books, computers as wearable items, exotic virtual reality labs and Buck Rodgers-style educational aids, we are in a good position to change this.

Given the extraordinary global challenges facing all of us, school systems must do more to help young learners master the art of horizon scanning, in all of its empowering aspects.

There is lots more good stuff in the issue, including a conversation between Daniel Pink and Tom Friedman, authors of A Whole New Mind and The World Is Flat, respectively.

Oh, and there’s a great article on reining in school board chairs who are bullies!


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