In my work as an educator and as someone who seeks to help lead others to consider the prospects of change in order to meet the needs of education in the 21st Century I have followed a basic principle that the why is more important than the how.  If we develop a strong enough why, then we will determine how to institute the necessary changes leading towards any improvement.

Consider the need to prepare our students for learning in the 21st Century.  Given the financial and political pressures that beset education at this very moment, educators are hard pressed to change the focus of the dialogue from why we need to reformat the system in terms of learning outcomes rather than the focus on heated rhetoric regarding tenure and taxes. Knowing why teaching and learning must shift due to exponential changes as a result of a digitized environment that has our students living on a global platform is something that requires a community wide dialogue.  It is a dialogue that must be marinated over time, and not relegated to a once in a while conversation.

Voices that speak to a deep conversation of issues surrounding the concept of preserving our past and finding our future in this new environment is where we must start.  The work of Marzano, Wiggins, and especially The 21st Century Fluency Project help to fuel the next step of how we must get there.  I dare say that the influence of Dewey still has a place in the debate of both why and how we must change educational practices moving forward.

I welcome a dialogue on moving from why to how, and consider the challenge central to my work in education at this moment.

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Comment by Michael Keany on March 25, 2011 at 1:28pm

Dave:

 

Glad to see you're sharing your ideas on a wider scale.  You will certainly stimulate discussion!

 

Mike

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