I am not just talking about the use of technology. I am talking about thinking about what we want our students to learn and why. I heard an incredible keynote by Chris Lehmann, principal of SLA in Philadelphia in which he stated the goal of education should be to create a citizenry, not a workforce.
To that end, I have long believed that writing is the most important skill that our students have. Writing empowers them. Yet somehow, we manage to confuse the art of writing with a chore. Something to be done and not necessarily perfected.
I was reminded while at this conference that NCTE has taken a similar stance on writing: Good writing may be the quintessential 21st century skill.
Recognizing that we are in a time of tremendous change, NCTE notes:
- Our schools and our nation need to recognize and validate the many ways we all are writing.
- We need to develop new models of writing, design a new curriculum supporting those models, and create models for teaching that curriculum.
- We need to make sure that all students have the opportunity to write and learn in intellectually stimulating classrooms.
- We need to recognize that out-of-school literacy practices are as critical to students’ development as what occurs in the classroom and take advantage of this to better connect classroom work to real-world situations that students will encounter across a lifetime.
The site includes some pretty good reading on teaching writing in the 21st century that I encourage everyone to read. And I'm wondering what teachers need the most to address the points above. I'm also contemplating a new project to address some of what we must begin to do as educators to start to address this need. I'll keep you posted!