Thursday, August 12, 2004

Connections

"How does one prepare our youth for careers that do not yet exist?"

About six months ago, I was asked this question and, I admit , I was stumped.
Rather than dismiss the query as rhetoric, I let it roll around in my mind for a while...a long while.
I tend to be tenacious when challenged, especially if the challenge regards an issue I am passionate about.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been involved in discussion with several varied groups of people. Those conversations have ranged from integrated curriculum, to community connectivity, to new strategies in problem solving, to creating a better future for the City of Cleveland.
Yesterday, (prepare for the cliche) I had an "Ah ha!" moment.

I do my best thinking holding on to a leash. The familiarity of the sidewalk and the pace are conducive to concentration.
I purposely won't wear headphones. I have two dogs. I get lots of thinking done when the weather is nice.
It hit me near the corner of Mayfield Rd and Yellowstone. We should be preparing our youth for future careers, careers that do not yet exist, by immersing them in connected thinking and problem solving.

Let me explain:
In order to integrate standards based curriculum, one needs to find the natural connections, or commonalities, between the the standards of two or more subject areas. For example; pattern and sequence recognition are shared learning standards for both music and mathematics. An integrated lesson about pattern and sequence recognition would include activities that incorporate music as well as math. When students are accustomed to making these natural connections, we begin to teach them to think connectively. The key to invention lies in making new connections.
Typical teaching methodology is dependent on directed, linear thinking processes, and rote learning. There is value in these processes that should not be discounted. However, our world is changing at a pace outstripping current methods of processing information. Alternative thinking and learning practices also need to be used to give our young people the tools to keep up with society's evolution.

Just as making new connections is an important factor in innovation, establishing networks is vital to supporting the process. We cannot foresee the future or know what problems lie ahead. What we can do is equip our young people with a skill set that includes problem solving strategies. Gathering information is essential to problem solving. Networks form the connections to facilitate that process.

We can only prepare our young people for an unknown future by giving them the means to deal with the vast amounts of information they will have to contend with. Since we cannot know which tools they will need, we can only hope to enable our youth by teaching them skills that will help them to create new strategies.

3 comments:

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legal jobs said...

Hey everyone! Cool site! The customer support seems good and the technology jobs are endless. Maybe I will have a better directmatch searching for human resources
since my keyword "customer care jobs" did not fit as intended.
Glad I found you! Keep on keepin on!