One of the defining elements of a 21st century education is personalised learning. The ability to create the right classroom conditions that enable students to work independently, collaboratively, creatively and to think critically.
According to the OECD (2008) these are important skills not only for successful economies but for ‘effective cultural and social participation and for citizens to live fulfilling lives.’
However, as Hargreaves and Shirley stress in the Fourth Way, if these skills are all there is to 21st century schooling then we are guilty of ‘customising’ education for today’s world.
They assert that 21st century schools must ‘also embrace deeper virtues and values such as courage, compassion, service, sacrifice, long-term commitment and perseverance.” This what they refer to as ‘meaningful learning and mindful teaching’.
Last week I caught up with Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre who spoke about the challenges he sees for Catholic schools in today’s world.
Academics and advocates like Andy Hargreaves and Phil Glendenning remind us of the need to develop robust, sustainable narratives that speak to the hearts and minds of all learners.
It’s a message not just for Catholic schools but for education systems committed to meaningful learning and mindful teaching.