Challenging the Whole Child: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching and Leadership

Challenging the Whole Child: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching and Leadership

Challenging the Whole Child: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching and Leadership

Challenging the Whole Child: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching and Leadership

Synopsis

The 21st century demands a highly skilled, educated work force and citizenry unlike any we have seen before. The global marketplace and economy are a reality. Change and innovation have become the new status quo while too many of our schools, communities, and systems use models designed to prepare young people for life in the middle of the last century. We live in a time that requires our students to be prepared to think both critically and creatively, to evaluate massive amounts of information, solve complex problems, and communicate well, yet our education systems remain committed to time structures, coursework, instructional methods, and assessments designed more than a century ago. A strong foundation in reading, writing, math, and other core subjects is as important as ever, yet insufficient for lifelong . . .

Excerpt

The 21st century demands a highly skilled, educated work force and citizenry unlike any we have seen before. The global marketplace and economy are a reality. Change and innovation have become the new status quo while too many of our schools, communities, and systems use models designed to prepare young people for life in the middle of the last century. We live in a time that requires our students to be prepared to think both critically and creatively, to evaluate massive amounts of information, solve complex problems, and communicate well, yet our education systems remain committed to time structures, coursework, instructional methods, and assessments designed more than a century ago. A strong foundation in reading, writing, math, and other core subjects is as important as ever, yet insufficient for lifelong success.

These 21st century demands require a new and better way of approaching education policy and practice—a whole child approach to learning, teaching, and community engagement. What if decisions about education policy were made by first asking, “What works best for children?” What if the education, health, housing, public safety, recreation, and business systems within our communities aligned human and capital resources to provide coordinated service to kids and families? What if policymakers at all levels worked with educators, families, and community members to ensure that we as a society meet our social compact to prepare children for their future rather than our past?

The answers push us to redefine what a successful learner is and how we measure success. It is time to put students first, align resources to students’ multiple needs, and advocate for a more balanced approach. A child who enters school in good health, feels safe, and is connected to her school is ready to learn. A student who has at least one adult in . . .

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