Sunday, February 24, 2008

Is There an Echo in Here?

Will Richardson has recently alerted me to the fact that yet another credible education organization has made an official statement regarding the shifts that are occurring in our society. The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) executive committee issued a statement that addresses the expansive nature of literacy today, including many abilities, competencies and literacies. I love the fact that the literacies are described as “multiple, dynamic and malleable.” Replacing those adjectives with others, we could also say they are many in number and varied, interactive and “live” rather than stagnant, and changeable or adaptable.

Also recently, I was privileged to sit in on a session by Dr. Tim Elmore where he was addressing the characteristics of the Millennial Generation that we now teach in JH and High School. It was interesting to me how much of what he was saying echoed the ideas I’ve been reading about in the technology blogs that I follow. Dr. Elmore says that kids today are an “EPIC generation: Experiential, Participatory, Image Driven, and Connected.” Another nugget I received from his talk was, “Students support what they help create.” Dr. Elmore is a former Youth Minister and consults with schools across the country on Growing Leaders. His books, Habitudes: Images that Form Leadership, are tools we are using in our homerooms with our students to help them understand character better.

It’s amazing, not surprising, to me how much of Dr. Elmore’s discussion reflected the tenants of constructivist teaching and effective technology use. The NCTE statement also mentions the idea of connections and Will mentions in his blog post about connective reading and connective writing. With these ideas coming from many different directions, how can we as educators not sit up and take notice? Now the challenge, how do we design instruction in order to engage the Millennial Generation and foster life-long learning? Another words, what does this really look like in the classroom?



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