Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Article Note: On Seven Principles to Educate the Ne(x)t Gens

Citation for the article (as provided on the site):

Sword, H., and M. Leggott. 2007. Backwards into the future: Seven principles for educating the ne(x)t generation. Innovate 3 (5). (accessed November 8, 2007).

This is going to be a brief note. The article can be read online at the Innovate online site, but I will warn that it requires free registration to access older issues. Personally, I tend to find registration requirements for things like this annoying, in part because it means yet another place I have to remember in terms of log-in details. Anyhow, there's my two cents.

As for the article, it provides a brief list of principles to keep in mind when teaching the so-called "Next Gens," but I think the principles are applicable to any classroom setting. The authors are describing how they apply the principles in their English 347: Poetry Off the Page class. The only thing I questioned was their optimism that "outside the classroom, through social software such as wikis, chatrooms, and blogs, our students are creating collective knowledge right and left, breaking down traditional boundaries between 'me' and 'us.'" I am just a bit skeptical about the quality of that knowledge. Is it really knowledge of any substance, or is it just the same usual socializing in a new setting? The statement seems to border on the common assumption, which is inaccurate, that just because the millenials are savvy online it would follow that they would be information literate. We know from experience that is not the case. Sure, they are breaking traditional boundaries when it comes to online environments. It does not automatically follow there is an educational goal or application along that way.

Anyhow, here are the seven principles. I do recommend people go and read the article. Some of this is common knowledge for those who have been teaching for a while, but it makes a nice reminder.

  • "1. Relinquish Authority.
  • 2. Recast Students as Teachers, Researchers, and Producers of Knowledge.
  • 3. Promote Collaborative Relationships.
  • 4. Cultivate Multiple Intelligences.
  • 5. Foster Critical Creativity
  • 6. Encourage Resilience in the Face of Change.
  • 7. Craft Assignments That Look Both Forward and Backwards."
From the second statement above, the authors explain: "teaching to the future demands that we imbue students with a sense of intellectual purpose, instill in them a desire to make a difference, provide them with opportunities to reach a wider audience, and furnish them with the tools to break new ground." This is definitely food for thought. It's what every teacher should be doing in every classroom as far as I am concerned. It is what I try to do when I teach.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You'd also be interested in this article