According to a recent article in Educational Leadership, Globally Ready-Or Not? by Marc Tucker, in addition to education and technical skills, global-ready graduates must have the ability to:
- Learn new things;
- Relate to a constantly changing array of people from different backgrounds and with different views and skills;
- Work independently with great focus and within tight timelines;
- Make sound judgments on the fly;
- Be trustworthy and ethical;
- Do the creative and imaginative work that machines can’t do.
What does this mean for us as a school for gifted learners, and for you as parents of gifted learners? Here are some key points, many of which dovetail well with SAA’s focus on the 4C’s of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
- Focus on continuous, deep learning. “It’s simply not true that the profusion of knowledge in recent years makes accumulation of knowledge unnecessary,” the author says. “Being able to analyze and synthesize will require students to know a lot about the material they’re analyzing and synthesizing.”
- Integrate academic and technical learning. We should abandon the old dichotomy between bookish and practical education, the article states. “The curriculum that students need must create a constant interplay between academics and application; problems that arise in the course of application give rise to the questions addressed in the academics, and the constructs learned in the academics are explored in application.” But it must go deeper than some current project-based learning that doesn’t go beyond what students can find on Wikipedia or a cursory Google search.
- Develop ethics. Beyond academic and technical skills, the article stresses that students need to build “a full range of qualities, many of which are related to character”. “Schools should create experiences for students in and out of school that will enable them to develop the full range of habits, values, ethnical commitments, skills, and knowledge they need.” Students need to be able to do the right thing when no one is watching, be strong contributors to a team, and experience leadership first hand.
- Cultural competence. This is not about being fluent in another language, but the idea that Americans understand the perspectives of different people. “Whether our future graduates will be selling to people in other countries, buying from them, building teams with them, or simply voting on issues that arise from our conflicts and alliances with other countries, it’s essential that we Americans know much more than we currently do about people whose cultures are different from our own.”
We are in the process of developing a portrait of an SAA graduate, creating a document of skills and characteristics cultivated over the course of the SAA experience that students will take with them to high school and beyond. We are mindful of the importance of these 21st century skills and are confident the final document will reflect these critical outcomes.