Trends are exciting. They catch on like wildfire. Every educator across the United States could probably very quickly name the two-word toy “trend” that hit out of nowhere and infiltrated schools across America throughout the month of May — that’s right — the infamous fidget spinner. But what if education itself became the trending topic? What if the latest trend taking America by storm was one that celebrated student innovation, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, real-life learning through PBL (project-based learning) and entrepreneurship education? Wouldn’t that be exciting?
More importantly, this shift in education is necessary for the success of our students as they move into our “connected”, global society.
I am reminded of the Anthony Robbins quote, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” How many school systems across the country are pouring over standardized test scores this summer trying to figure out, “WHAT WENT WRONG?” In education we tend to look in every direction for the solution, but maybe we have yet to discover or define the actual problem. This, in essence, is where the idea of #OutsideTheBoxED originated.
Our world is no longer standardized. We are far removed from the industrial-age when standardization was key, so why are we using standardized tests as our sole measure of student success? It is difficult to define the problem with such narrow measures. During the industrial-age, workers needed to learn a specific skill and perform it well. Education was modeled after the workforce. Desks were in rows, and the teacher was front and center providing the information necessary for students to learn. Far too often, our schools are STILL modeled after this same style of instruction. Our students are sitting bored out of their minds listening to teachers spill out information that *newsflash* could be googled with far less trouble, until they are saved by the bell and walk classroom to classroom like zombies from “The Walking Dead”. And then we wonder why they aren’t performing well.
THANKFULLY, this isn’t the case everywhere. Many schools are making great strides to shift their educational culture to a student-centered approach that promotes critical and creative thinking, innovation, collaboration, and communication. As an instructional leader, I am committed to preparing students for their future- and their today. Through a focus on the 4Cs Essential Skills: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking, project-based learning, entrepreneurship education, arts education, STEM, and digital literacy we are exposing our ELEMENTARY students to a wide-variety of experiences to build a firm foundation for their success. I intend to use this blog as a tool to share different aspects of what my faculty and I have found to be beneficial for our students and ourselves as we made the shift from traditional to #OutsideTheBoxED.
I encourage you to share stories, pictures, tweets, and examples of the progress your school is making in shifting its educational landscape. Feel free to share and comment on this post! Let’s start a new trend! Boxes are so lame. It’s time to shift from #EDUtradition to #OutsideTheBoxED and meet the needs of today’s learners!