Leaders in Educational Thought: Ways of Change
Five leaders in education share their thinking about effective ways to support every student in reaching their full potential. They discuss how a rapidly changing world demands an education system that is in tune with the skills, knowledge and characteristics required of students if they are to become personally successful, economically productive and actively engaged citizens.
Going deeper about what it means to have the 6 Cs as major goals of education - character education, citizenship, creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking - is the next step in Ontario’s improvement work. What kind of pedagogy/teaching will produce learning in the 6 Cs and enable educated people to become good at solving problems and dealing with life?
Going deeper means focused innovation – trying new ways of teaching and learning then sorting out which are worth going further with and which are not – doing something new and learning from it. It’s about continuing to ask: What kind of teaching/learning is most powerful for reaching our 6 C learning goals?
Education is not just about test scores, it’s about identifying what educated people have beyond test scores.
Effective school leaders mobilize their groups and participate as learners with its members, interacting and making decisions with them in connected ways. What are the characteristics of reliable, passionate, problem-solving leaders who can challenge the status quo and facilitate the creation of commonly owned plans and the conditions where it is safe to innovate?
Ethical entrepreneurialism connects innovation, creating something new and solving real-life problems to character education – it’s about values being tied to doing.
Developing knowledge about and practise in the kinds of teaching that will produce learning in the 6 Cs is new territory. Deep thinking about what learners should experience and know in areas such as citizenship and character education will be required to sort through what this learning looks like and how to measure it.
Whole System Change
Leadership from the Middle (Hargreaves) - a district focus on the provincial agenda - supports the development of partnerships and connections within and across schools and boards. This middle focused leadership facilitates both lateral and vertical growth of the connections required for whole system improvement.
Ontario is on the cusp of a major revolution in learning. The dissatisfaction with traditional schooling and the influences of the digital world have created the conditions for people to try out new things and learn from experience as they go, leading to dynamic possibilities for rapid change and deep learning.
Partnership among teachers and students lead to the design of learning that is engaging, includes the digital world, and is built around real-life problem solving. How can teachers and students design this learning together?
The New Pedagogy
Developing learning about the 6 Cs will require proactive partnership among teachers and students, principal as lead learner, district culture change and policy changes at the provincial level. What are we aiming for and what kinds of learning experiences will get us there?
The new goals are not about starting new – they’re about continuous improvement and innovation, closing the equity gap, defining student well-being and increasing public confidence. We want parents to choose the public education system and have the confidence that their kids will get a good education and thrive in their local schools.