Leadership in Teaching, Learning & Assessment
Semester 2: Assignment No. 2
Learning in 21st century classrooms are different as such our teaching should reflect how our students learn and it should also reflect the world our students will move into that is rapidly changing, adapting and evolving. To teach using 21st Century pedagogy, educators must be student centric. Our curricula and assessments must inclusive, interdisciplinary and contextual based on real world examples.
In your essay critically reflect on the above statement and use quality literature to write an essay of 5000 words.
Course Coordinator Ravikendra Sinha Singh
Mrs. Pratika Mudliar STUDENT 1D: S100487
Education Reforms and Student Assessment highlights the importance of Education reforms and the effect it has on learning and teaching, student achievement and nation at large. The Ministry of Education has introduced a number of education reforms in schools to improve learning and teaching, the assessment procedures and performance of students in internal and external exams.
Recent changes in educational sector like abolishment of corporal punishment, zoning system, bus fare assistance ,re: restoration of exams in education system, introduction of new subjects in schools etc. have put a lot of people in the society in dilemma.
21st Century Education
The new millennium was ushered in by a dramatic technological revolution. We now live in an increasingly diverse, globalised and complex, media-saturated society. It is believed that most of us today have no idea of what the world will look like in 2068, when today’s preschoolers will be retiring, yet we as educators are charged with preparing our learners for life in that world. Many emerging issues such as global warming, famine, poverty, health issues, a global population explosion, and other environmental and social issues are faced by our students. These issues lead to a need for students to be able to communicate, function and create change personally, socially, economically and politically on local, national and global levels.
So, where does that leave us as 21st century leaders?
Emerging technologies and resulting globalization also provide unlimited possibilities for exciting new discoveries and developments such as new forms of energy, medical advances, and restoration of environmentally ravaged areas, communications and exploration into space and into the depths of the oceans. The possibilities are unlimited.
Skills of the 21st Century
With 21st century education, there is a critical need for developing 21st century skills. As such, we believe that authentic education addresses the “whole child”, the “whole person” and does not limit our professional development and curriculum design to workplace readiness. The 21st century skills have to be learned through our curriculum, which needs to be inter-disciplinary, integrated and project-based. Today’s curriculum must focus on:
• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
• Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
• Agility and Adaptability
• Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
• Effective Oral and Written Communication
• Accessing and Analyzing Information
• Curiosity and Imagination
However, in today’s era, learners are practically active whereby they have the ability to learn many things at one particular time. Many are multi-tasking in which they listen to music while surfing the Web or instant-messaging family and friends while playing a video game. All over the globe, learners are referred to as “digital natives” and educators as “digital immigrants”. For example, schoolchildren today learn more through electronic devices such as iPods, iPads, mobile phones and tablets.
“School”, “Teacher”, “Learner” and “Curriculum” for the 21st Century
As a leader, I would try to answer the question of how education is to be structured to meet the needs of students in this 21st century world. How do we now define “School”, “Teacher”, “Learner” and “Curriculum”?
Schools in the 21st century will be laced with a project-based curriculum for life aimed at engaging students in addressing real-world problems, issues important to humanity and questions that matter. Making this a reality will be my highest priority. In the 21st century, there has been a change from the past education system practice of a textbook-driven, teacher –centered, paper and pencil schooling system. This, therefore, means a new way of understanding the concept of “knowledge”, and a new definition of the “educated person”. As such, new ways of designing a curriculum needed to form definitions for the 21st century are as follows:
Schools-will change from “buildings” to “nerve centers” with walls that are porous and transparent, connecting teachers, students and the community to the wealth of knowledge that exist in the world.
Teacher – From the primary role as a dispenser of information to orchestrator of learning and helping students turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom.
The 21st century will require knowledge generation, not just information delivery, and schools will need to create a “culture of inquiry”.
Learner – In the past, a learner was a young person who went to school, spent a specified amount of time in certain courses, received passing grades and graduated. Today, we must see learners in a new context:
First –we must maintain student interest by helping them see how what they are learning prepares them for life in the real world.
Second – we must instill curiosity, which is fundamental to lifelong learning.
Third – we must be flexible in how we teach.
Fourth – we must excite learners to become even more resourceful so that they will continue to learn outside the formal school day.
The above new ways make way for meaningful education in the 21st century.
Therefore, what exactly will our schools look like? What will the curriculum look like? How will this 21st century curriculum be organized, and how will it impact the way we design and build schools, how we assess students, how we purchase resources, how we acquire and utilize the new technologies, and what all these mean for us in an era of standardized testing and accountability.
1 Imagine a school in which the students – all of them – are so excited about school that they can hardly wait to get there.
2 Imagine having little or no “discipline problems” because the students are so engaged in their studies that those problems disappear.
3 Imagine having parents calling, sending notes, or coming up to the school to tell you about the dramatic changes they are witnessing in their children: newly found enthusiasm and excitement for school, a desire to work on projects, research and write after school and on weekends.
4 Imagine your students making nearly exponential growth in their basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, researching, scientific explorations, math, multimedia skills and more!
It is possible. It has happened, and is happening, in schools across the nation. We all have seen this first-hand with our classes, and we have seen it at other schools with whom we have worked. And there is growing evidence of schools everywhere having the same results when they implement a 21st century curriculum.
What is 21st century curriculum?
Twenty-first century curriculum has certain critical attributes. It is interdisciplinary, project-based, and research-driven. It is connected to the community – local, state, national and global. Sometimes students are collaborating with people around the world in various projects. The curriculum incorporates higher order thinking skills, multiple intelligences, technology and multimedia, the multiple literacy’s of the 21st century, and authentic assessments. Service learning is an important component.
The classroom is expanded to include the greater community. Students are self-directed, and work both independently and interdependently. The curriculum and instruction are designed to challenge all students and provides for differentiation.
The curriculum is not textbook-driven or fragmented, but is thematic, project-based and integrated. Skills and content are not taught as an end in themselves, but students learn them through their research and application in their projects. Textbooks, if they have them, are just one of many resources.
Knowledge is not memorization of facts and figures, but is constructed through research and application, and connected to previous knowledge, personal experience, interests, talents and passions. The skills and content become relevant and needed as students require this information to complete their projects. The content and basic skills are applied within the context of the curriculum, and are not ends in themselves.
Assessment moves from memorized facts and disconnected processes to demonstration of understanding through application in a variety of contexts. All the stakeholders are an important part of the assessment process, as is self-assessment.
The Ministry of Education within our beloved nation, Fiji, is in the process of implementing a number of initiatives or reforms that are seeing to progressive changes. Fiji is also undergoing changes with time. There have been changes made to the curriculum and new curriculum are prepared to match the needs of the generation of this era.
Reforms in Fiji (what’s new in Fiji)
The curriculum framework has been revised and is being revised by the authorities concerned. This was temporarily withheld in 2007. This framework is an overarching document that is developed at the national level. What is to be taught for each subject is specified and described in the curriculum.
It suggests the best thinking about the knowledge, skills and processes students should know and understand about a particular subject and it provides a structure within which to organize the other important curricular components of the instructional system.
There are more than 30 reforms implemented by the Ministry of Education and the following are some of them:
1. The introduction of computer education in primary school. There are 11 primary schools offering computer studies to Classes 7 and 8 from the year 2013. The curriculum is already in place and the teachers are either going or have gone through the relevant training.
2. The OPLC program me has been launched and is being piloted in some of our schools in the country.
3. Introduction of the Health Promotion in schools and the development of WASH strands for all schools.
4. Integration of financial education in primary (English, Social Studies and Math’s) and Secondary syllabus (English, Commerce, Economics, Accounting, Math’s)
5. Integration of citizenship education, climate change and gender inclusivity.
6. The e-learning program me is encompassing 18 secondary remote and rural schools; Classes are being conducted from the studio based in Shelburne Street.
7. Implementation of the Fiji islands assessment framework with the development of assessment tasks. The shift is from exam-oriented to a child-centered assessment, where the focus is on improving student learning than on the assessment for ranking.
Pillar Number 9 of the People’s Charter refers to making Fiji a knowledge-based society. Zoning of schools has been done so that all students are able to go to the schools in their locality, thus reducing the cost as they do not have to spend a lot on transportation. Time will also be saved and this time can be best utilized somewhere important. Such an act can also help those students who were left out of the education system due to financial constraints. Bus fare assistance, textbook allowance and free education schemes have benefited and will benefit most societies a lot. The Ministry of Education in particular, has implemented reforms like the lunch assistance scheme, one lap top per child, introduction of computer classes in primary schools, integrating financial education in schools, compulsory education up to Form 6 level (no dropout policy), so as to name a few. This government initiative contributes positively to teaching and learning in the 21st century. It also plays as a pull factor for students to be in school. There have also been more learning institutes developed and reformed to equip and meet the demands of the learners of our nation. Examples include the University of Fiji, Fiji National University and others as the government has also shown interest towards the education of senior citizens and it is encouraging to learn that the quest for education and developing a knowledge-based society has driven some adults or more precisely, drop outs, back to school. The establishment of the Matua Program at Nabua Secondary School is a good example of this. The return of some of these adults to school is reflective of a second chance of improving their standards of living. It also helped such individuals to mingle well with people of other cultures and understand one another.
Moreover, education in the 21st century also focuses on the holistic development of the child whereby he or she quires theoretical and practical lifelong skills. Education in the 19th century was more teacher-centered and exam-oriented. With certain government reforms, there is now a complete change where the Ministry of Education is now focusing on a student-oriented or student-centered approach with major public exams abolished from the current educational system. As leaders of the 21st century, we must be receptive to the changes and reforms of government and Ministry of Education. We must as affiliative leaders are willing to include new subjects introduced to schools. More emphasis should be given to the core subjects in schools towards the holistic development of the child. Family Life Education is one of the subjects taught in our schools which are of great benefit to the child and the society as the children will be able to know much more about them. Previously, this subject has been a taboo subject in our society but today, there is a need for such a subject as our children are “exposed” to the world. Personal safety and health issues like the use of condoms and teenage pregnancies are addressed and this subject is of great help to the young generation of the country. For example, PEMAC classes help students in their growth and also teach them skills through which they can earn their living if one masters the skills acquired. A good example is Waisale Serevi and Tomasi Cama.
Media literacy skills are honed as students address real-world issues, from the environment to poverty. Students use the technological and multimedia tools now available to them to design and produce web sites, television shows, radio shows, public service announcements, mini-documentaries, how-to DVDs, oral histories, and even films. a good example for this change in 21st century is the FAVC group( kulak film making) in schools where students do work on their own with teacher as the facilitator.
The vocational schools are also upgrading to enhance learning for our young generation to acquire knowledge to earn their living in years to come. For example, the carpentry training, Cookery, mechanical, agro farming etc. Music classes are also of great importance to the people of the day and the days to come. They can become singers, entertainers, and cast in film industry. Modeling is also giving value to people; as such a student of Sigatoka Methodist College is being chosen to be the models to represent the nation.
We need more after school programs. We need after school programs that meet the needs of the 21st century student. What are those needs? What possibilities exist for designing such programs? How can we create programs that are fun, motivational and educational?
“No one believes that when the bell rings at the end of the school day, children stop learning. Curiosity bubbles inside the minds of children from the moment they wake in the morning to when they go to bed at night. Our challenge is to encourage, connect, and foster learning throughout a child’s day. How do we help children make sense of all the information and experiences in their lives? How do we ensure that all children have opportunities to reach their full potential in a competitive world where thinking skills are the most important asset of a society?
How can we extend the learning throughout the day for all children? Part of our task in collaborating with the steering committee, parents, students and community members will be to work toward designing some programs which will meet these needs. There are many possibilities: internships, various clubs such as photography, gardening, writing, bicycle building, computer repairs, the arts, sports, culinary arts, creating student-run businesses (entrepreneurships), and many more.
The world has become techno-savvy and is changing as it undergoes a ‘speed of change’. A 21st century teachers goes along with such changes for the betterment of all (Ranadi, 2013).
As to this, the government of the day wishes to meet the expectations of the society and the job market. The Ministry of Education sees that the current curriculum is overcrowded, too difficult, exam-oriented and teacher-centered thus the change to ensure Fiji is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century teaching and learning.