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When do we stop calling it "21st Century"?

It's 2016.

The 21st century has been underway for 16 years now.


Pedagogically speaking, I understand the need to distinguish this century from the previous ones collectively as the needs of the world are rapidly changing and students need to be prepared to participate in the world with a very specific skill set. Schooling must be rooted in innovation, creativity and critical thinking to name a few, I also get that school boards weren't in sync with these needs at the turn of the century. I can personally attest to that because it was the reason why I left my position in the curriculum department at my school board in 2010. Despite all the research I was doing and the in-servicing I was providing that was causing a lot of people to think, system leaders weren't ready to hear about this and after the umpteenth kick under the table, I returned to the classroom to completely overhaul my own practice for the betterment of my students. Since then, of course, the system has gone from one extreme to another with massive purchases of iPads and Chromebooks and have invested in more PD for teachers. It's all good, but a little late in my opinion.

I guess the long and the short of this rant is simply this: if we continue to call what is going on in schools "21st century learning", it gives the appearance that there is another choice, that the practices of teaching and learning for the 21st century is novel. Instead, there needs to be a more fixed standards that teaching and learning must look a certain way in order to be acceptable to boards of Education and the Ministry. Yes, I know what that sounds like but I'm serious. The lax standards in teaching profession allow teacher to teach how they were taught and the process of teacher performance appraisals (ugh) doesn't allow an administrator to do much about it, other than make "recommendations" with no compulsion on the part of the teacher to comply.

I know that for the time-being, to refuse to call what is going on in schools "21st century learning" means excluding myself from a rich professional learning community and a very rich dialogue that is taking place with people who are genuinely interested in transforming the experience of schooling so that kids are more prepared for the world they actually live in. I'll keep playing along for now...


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