Students are being pushed to apply, analyze, evaluate and create using the knowledge that is so widely available to them. This is higher level thinking from Bloom's Taxonomy; this is where we want students headed.
A frustration I am struggling with is how to balance teaching skills with teaching content knowledge. I believe 21st century learning emphasizes developing skills and tools, whereas so much of our BC curriculum seems to appeal to a checklist of material to cover. So often my tendency is to flip between extremes, but as Jonathan Vervaet has reminded me, teaching is not a world of black and white.
Ultimately, I want my students to be prepared for their future. Their future won't require them to rattle off their 1 - 12 times tables or correctly spell words in front of their peers; it will require them to problem-solve, create new things, act professionally, and be contributing [digital] citizens.
How are we getting our students there? How are we using the content material we are expected to cover to push our students to develop relevant, 21st Century Skills?
I believe that the BC Draft Curriculum will help drive the teaching in our province to better find this balance. To the right is an example of what the proposed Social Studies 7 Curriculum will ask for. What I appreciate about the format of the new curriculum is how it frames the goals of our teaching around developing core competencies, using the means of suggested content coverage. The core competencies use words that emphasize deeper thinking and application rather than just memorization of important dates and facts.
As teachers, we are teaching both skills and content. It is not an either/or situation. But our teaching needs to intentionally balance the development of relevant skills with how we cover content. This can look like putting students in charge of discovering the content on their own, through the skills we teach them, which can be manifested in project-based learning, inquiry, effective and responsible researching skills, etc.
I shouldn't be constantly battling with myself and trying to justify why I am spending more time and emphasis on content or on skills - I should be intentionally blending the two to create learners who are more wholly prepared for their future.
How does your practice balance teaching skills and covering content?