Teaching in the Twenty-first Century

|| 21st Century Pedagogy!


The steep unlearning curve: 10 things we need to unlearn

(ref: Will Richardson at web-logged blog)
There is no curriculum for unlearning, and, of course, in many ways it’s simply learning to see things differently or to at least be open to it. To me at least, the key is attempting to understand how these technologies can transform our own learning practice (and, I would guess, our unlearning practice as well.) If we can get started on that road, it can become much easier to re-envision our classrooms and our schools.
So, with that brief introduction, here are 10 things that I think we need to unlearn:
  • We need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom, because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching.
  • We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.
  • We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.
  • We need to unlearn the strategy that collaborative work inside the classroom is enough and understand that cooperating with students from around the globe can teach relevant and powerful negotiation and team-building skills.
  • We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.
  • We need to unlearn the notion that our students don’t need to see and understand how we ourselves learn.
  • We need to unlearn our fear of putting ourselves and our students “out there” for we’ve proven we can do it in safe, relevant and effective ways.
  • We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace?
  • We need to unlearn the idea that we can teach our students to be literate in this world by continually blocking and filtering access to the sites and experiences they need our help to navigate.
  • We need to unlearn the premise that real change can happen just by rethinking what happens inside the school walls and understand that education is now a community undertaking on many different levels.

Building 21st Century skills in our students

  • Collaboration – the ability to work in teams
  • Critical thinking – taking on complex problems
  • Oral communications – presenting
  • Written communications – writing
  • Technology – use technology
  • Citizenship – take on civic and global issues; service learning
  • Learn about careers – through internships
  • Content – conduct research and do all of the above.


21st Century Schools